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THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



THE DAUGHTER 
OF BRAHMA 



I. A. R. WYLIE 

AuiMra/ 



THB NATIVB BORN. DIVIDING WATBBl 
THB GERMANS, ETC 



uo 



INDIANAPOLIS 

THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY 

PUBUSHERS 



«1L3 






Copyright, I. A. R. Wyue, 1912 
Printed and Bound, Febniary, 1913 



THE NTW Y<;;iK 

PUDLIC LlSKAllY 

157487B 

TIL, i.N r .iiAi.v:--! 



/*. ©I' THE 



PRESS OP 

•RAUMWORTH a CO. 

BOOKBINDERS AND PRMTERB 

BROOKLYN, N. V. 



f 



r 



CONTENTS 



\ 
1^ 



BOOK I 

CHAPTER PAGB 

I Under the Curse 1 

II In Which the Judge Hears Unpleasant Things . 11 

III The Spartan's Son 27 

IV In the Buried Temple 40 

V Mr. Euot Proves Himself a Judge of Character 59 

BOOK II 

I After Twelve Years 73 

II The Proselyte 90 

III Fate Decides 104 

IV Sarasvati 120 

V Two People Interfere 137 

VI The Awakening 149 

VII Mrs. Chichester's Ball Suffers an Interruption 163 

VIII The Rights of Freedom 180 

BOOK III 

I Diana DEaDES 203 

II David's Wife ........ 214 

III An Intruder ....«•••. 222 

rV Diana to the Rescue 239 

V Paying the Price 253 

VI Rama Pal 271 

VII The Goal Passed 278 



CONTENTS— CtfJrt^nw^ 
BOOK IV 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I The Sappers 301 

II The Parting of the Ways . . . . . 310 

III Betrayed 323 

IV The Choice 335 

V In PuRsmT 346 

VI In Which History Threatens to Repeat Itself . 357 

VII Harvest 371 

VIII The Daughter of Brahma . . • . .380 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



N. 



BOOK I 



\ 



THE DAUGHTER OF 

BRAHMA 



CHAPTER I 

UNDER THE CUBSE 

'^'VT'OU have read enough," Mrs. Hurst said. "I am 

X tired, and the light troubles me. Put it out — it will 
seem cooler in the darkness." 

"Very well — or shall I screen it? Then if you should 
want anything — ^" 

Mrs. Hurst turned a little and measured her companion 
from head to foot. 

"You are afraid," she said, a faint note of amusement 
creeping into her tired voice. "I wonder why. Do you 
expect that a cobra will take the opportunity to do away 
with you or that there is a thug under the bed? Pray 
look and see. You will perhaps feel easier in your mind." 

The English nurse bit her lip. 

"I am not afraid, Mrs. Hurst," she said resentfully. "I 
only thought it would be more convenient. But of 
course — ^" 

She made a movement as though to turn out the small 

I 



2 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

lamp which stood by the bedside^ but her mistress 
stretched out a detaining hand. 

"Wait!" she said. "I thought I heard something — 
horses' hoofs — Usten !" 

The invalid had lifted herself on her elbow, her head 
raised in an attitude of tense concentration, her brows 
contracted with the effort. The nurse turned toward the 
open window — sharply, as one expecting a sudden attack. 

"It was nothing," she said in a dry voice. "I heard 
nothing." 

Mrs. Hurst smiled. She let herself sink back and her 
hair hung about her face like a black curtain. 

"He will be here in five minutes," she said decidedly. 
"You have not learned to distinguish sounds." Then 
she raised her tired eyes again to the nurse's face. "Why 
are you so afraid ?" she asked. 

Nurse Campden shrugged her shoulders. The move- 
ment was rude and in her own coutnry she had been noted 
for the suavity of her manners. But her nerve was gone 
and the offspring of a cheap London suburb broke 
through the hard layer of acquired polish. She looked 
back fearfully at the window. 

"I should think there was cause enough, Mrs. Hurst," 
she said almost in a whisper. "Last week a house was 
broken into and the owner murdered. And only yester- 
day poor Mr. Harris — ^who knows whose turn it will be 
next !" 

The smile deepened about Mrs. Hurst's firm mouth. 
You have been listening to the ayahs," she said. 
There is nothing to fear" — 3, subtle change of expres- 
sion passed over her young face which seemed to make 






* fc, 



t 



UNDER THE CURSE 3 

it old and hard — ^"and if there were, we should not be 
afraid/' she finished quietly. 

Nurse Campden said nothing. She was gazing about 
her with wideK)pen straining eyes, trying to penetrate 
the shadows that shifted noiselessly in the farthest cor- 
ners of the room. The silence oppressed her. While 
she had read aloud, her own voice, breaking in upon the 
absolute hush, had sounded strangely threatening, but 
this silence was more terrible. It was full of inaudible 
movement. If she looked toward the open window she 
knew that every now and again something white would 
flit across the darkness. It should have comforted, but 
instead it added to her terror. She knew that it was 
one of the commissioner's levies on his way round the 
compound, but he, too, seemed unreal, a ghostly intan- 
gible something which was all part of the shadows and 
movements. She tried to concentrate her attention on 
familiar objects. Ever3rthing was in its place. The 
silver ornaments blinked at her from the dressing-table ; 
close at hand a small pile of white delicate linen lay in 
readiness ; a general atmosphere of refinement, almost of 
luxury, pervaded the low-built room. On the surface 
— quiet; and beneath, the constant noiseless activity. 
Nurse Campden had little imagination, but she heard it. 
Suddenly she cried out with that sharpness which be- 
tokens long self-repression. Mrs. Hurst turned her head. 

"Who is there ?" she asked quietly. 

The curtains hanging over the doorway parted. A 
woman's dark face peered through the opening. 

"Tea for the Mem-Saihib-^Mem-Sahib like tea ?" 

"It is well, Sita. Bring it here. I am thirsty." 



4 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Nurse Campden drew back. The native woman 
glided over the uncarpeted floor and placed the tray on 
the table by the bedside. There was a soft musical jingle 
of silver ornaments. 

"Pour out for Mem-Sahib ?" 

"Yes, pour out." 

The brown shapely hands performed their task. Nurse 
Campden watched them and her trembling lips were 
drawn back in uncontrollable abhorrence. The ayah 
caught the expression and for an instant her eyes nar^ 
rowed, then flashed back to the pale face against the 
pillow. 

"Mem-Sahib better soon — ^little Sahib come," she said 
softly, and withdrew, the curtains falling with a faint 
rustle behind her. 

Nurse Campden shuddered. 

"I Kate these black creatures," she said unsteadily. 
"They frighten me to death with their stealthy ways. 
You have nerve, too, Mrs. Hurst — and you so young, 
too." 

"My grandfather was one of the men who made India," 
was the quiet, almost indifferent answer. "My father 
was born out here and is buried in Lucknow. My son 
will be born and will die out here as I shall do. It i^ 
in the blood." Then with a swift yet smooth movement 
she drew herself upright and held out her arms. "Wal- 
ter !" she said joyfully. 

The man who had been standing Hesitating on the 
threshold of the room came quickly forward. The move- 
ments of the slight agile figure seemed to betoken youth, 
yet as he removed his pith helmet the pale light revealed 



UNDER THE CURSE 5 

the face 6i a man w^o fiad seen more than youtfi recks 
of — ^anxiety, responsibility, perhaps fear. He bent over 
her and touched her hand. 

"I was afraid of startling you," he said in a low voice, 
"but I had to have a look in and see how you were get- 
ting on. Are you all right?" 

"Yes, yes, quite all right. You have had news?" 

He nodded. 

"Lai Pandra has confessed. There is to be a big meet- 
ing to-night at some place outside the village. He is to 
act as guide. All the ringleaders will be there — ^among 
them the Chitpaven Brahman, Nana Balagi. That is proof 
enough that there is more in it all than mere dacoity. It 
will be a big haul for us — ^if we are successful." 

"There will be no danger?" 

"I hope to get ofif with a few priestly curses." 

"Is Lai Pandra to be trusted ?" 

"That's what none of us knows. I am taking thirty 
Sikhs with me." 

They looked at each other steadily. Mrs. Hurst had 
sunk back again, but her eyes had never left her hus- 
band's face. 

"Is there any chance — ^that you will be back in time ?" 

Hurst glanced at the nurse. 

"In three or four hours — ^if all goes well." 

Nurse Campden nodded. She had recovered some- 
thing of her self-possession. 

We can expect no change before then," she said. 
And if things don't go well ?" 

He held out his thin brown hand and his wife took it 
and pressed it. 



ft 



6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

/ 

^'In that case, there isn't much to be said. I should like 
him to be called David — after your grandfather, you 
know. It would be a good omen. There are no famous 
names on my side." 

She smiled faintly. 

"There is yours.'* 

"I am one of hundreds." 

"Not after to-night And supposing it isn't a Tie' ?" 

He laughed. 

'We've both made so sure, haven't we ? Well, I leave 
it to you. Anyhow, you will act for the best Good-by, 
dear." 

He bent and kissed her and she put her arms round 
his neck and drew him close to her. A sudden exclama- 
tion broke from him. 

"Jean I" 

But she pushed him gently away. 

"You must lose no time," she said. "Come back with 
glory." 

He nodded, his eyes shining at her from under the 
straight brows. 

"You're splendid I" he said. "Jean — you're more made 
for this sort of thing than I am." 

"That's not true." There was a vague impatience in 
her tone. "You ought not to have bothered about me. 
A wife is always a nuisance. Good-by." 

"Good-by, Jean !" 

He made no attempt to kiss her again, but went to the 
window. Nurse Campden followed him. His back was 
turned to the light, but in the part darkness she saw; 



UNDER THE CURSE 7 

enough of his face to startle even her blunted susceptibili- 
ties. The rigid stoicism was gone. His fine, almost too 
delicate features were working as though in an agony; 
the perspiration stood out in great beads on his forehead. 

"Mr. Hurst," she said in a rapid undertone, "couldn't 
you get some one to take your place? I feel it my duty 
to tell you that it would be better if you did not leave the 
house to-night. Any excitement or agitation might have 
serious results for your wife — or the child." 

He looked at her. The mask had slipped back instantly 
to its place. 

"I have spoken to my wife," he said. "She perfectly 
understands. She will be neither agitated nor excited. I 
leave her in good hands./ Good night !" 

He went down the two steps which led into the com- 
pound. Once Nurse Campden fancied he hesitated and 
looked back at the lighted room, but she could not be 
sure and the next instant the darkness had engulfed him. 
In the absolute quiet the two women could hear the 
sentry's challenge, the answer, a word of command and 
then the steady tramp of marching feet on the highroad. 
Nurse Campden shivered and came back from the win- 
dow. 

"You must not allow yourself to be frightened, Mrs. 
Hurst," she said with a weak attempt at professionalism. 
**You must think of your responsibility." 

Mrs. Hurst smiled, and the smile had become scomfuL 

"I am not frightened, but I am rather tired. As you 
do not like to sit in the dark, take the light into the next 
room. I will call you when I want you." 



8 lTHE daughter OF BRAHMA 

Nurse Campden glanced back over her shoulder. Then 
she took up the lamp. There was panic in the wide-open 
colorless eyes. 

"Very well, Mrs. Hurst — ^as you wish it" 

She went quickly toward the door and passed out. 
The room was now in darkness, save for the light that 
filtered through the thin curtain. It was a red curtain, 
and the reflection on the opposite wall was red, too— like 
a luminous smear of blood. Mrs. Hurst looked at it and 
then out into the silent compound. Then her eyes closed. 
But she did not sleep. She was listening, and her trained 
ears heard sounds which the nurse had only suspected 
— steady footfalls, the rustle of some lithe animal 
through the long grasses, and the sigh of a sud- 
den short-lived breeze. Though she saw nothing, she 
knew when the sentry* passed her window on his round 
and when at length he ceased from bis vigilance. Of 
what use? The Sahib was gone. The Mem-Sahib slept 
and the night was long. The scornful smile flickered 
once more about the compressed lips. She stretched out 
her hand and felt for the revolver on the table beside 
her. Her fingers glided almost caressingly over the 
smooth barrel. Then she drew a quiet sigh of satisfac- 
tion and lay still. 

Thus the hours passed. The red luminotis smear 
faded from the wall ; the unseen and soundless movement 
sank into a hush that was full of a dread expectancy. In 
breathless holy silence, the wdrld awaited the first signal 
of the dawn. Mrs. Hurst opened her eyes suddenly. 
She ^ had slept a little, but in her sleep she had heard 
somethmg which her waking ears could not have heard. 



t 

<■ 



UNDER THE CURSE 9 

Beneath the veil of silence there was again sound, and 
this time it was not the fall of a footstep, not the move- 
ment of some animal in the long grasses, nor the sighing 
of a breeze. Mrs. Hurst lifted herself on her elbow. 

"Walter !" she said aloud. 

No answer. But it was as though her voice had torn 
the veil asUnder. In the unreality of things one reality 
stood out — ^a rieality which had brushed against the cur- 
tains by the window and then slid slowly, gently to the 
ground. Mrs. Hurst rose from her bed. She did not 
take the revolver or call out. She felt her way across 
the room toward the gray patch of light that was 
brightening rapidly along the horizon. At the window 
she stumbled over something. She bent down. Her 
hands touched a man's face. Still she was silent. She 
knelt and her fingers passed rapidly over the familiar 
tunic. Quite suddenly they stopped in their search. For 
a moment she knelt there motionless. It was as though 
she were listening. Then she rose slowly and carefully 
from her knees. 

''Nurse!" she called. "Nurse!" 

In the next room there was the sound of a sudden 
startled movement A chair was overturned. Nurse 
Campden, dazed with sleep, stood between the curtains. 
She held the lamp in her unsteady hand and the pale 
light struggled vainly with the increasing brightness. 
But the motionless something at Mrs. Hurst's feet was 
still in shadow. Nurse Campden took a stumbling step 
forward. 

"Mrs. Hurst," she mumbled, "you shouldn't have got 
up. You—" 



)^ 



lo THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Mrs. Hurst raised her hand* She stood with her 
back to the dawn, upright, commanding, her figure mag- j 

nified by the gray uncertain background. •: 

"I want you to arouse the servants," she said slowly. I 

"My husband has been murdered. No— you are not to j 

scream or faint You will do as I tell you. There is ] 

my son to be considered. Now — ^go !'* 

In the following moment of suspense, her will power 
closed with the other's weakness and predominated. 
Wordless, h3rpnotized, Nurse Campden obeyed. The 
curtains fell in their place — ^there was a sound of running 
uncertain footsteps along the corridor and then a low 
confused murmur. Mrs. Hurst bent her head. 

"My beloved I" she said. 

That was all. She went back quietly to her bed and 
lay there as she had lain there before, tearless, patient, 
awaiting her hour. 

And in the first flush of the Indian morning, her son, 
David Hurst, was given her. 






CHAPTER II 



IN WHICH THE JUDGE HEARS UNPLEASANT THINGS 



*X TO," said the judge indignantly. "I don't believe 



Go away! Do you take me for a fool? Go 
away, I tell you ! What — I told you — ? At three o'clock 
in the afternoon ? Nonsense !" 

He grunted and rolled over and there was silence save 
for the soft regular movement of the punka. The 
native who had taken up his position at the foot of the 
judge's improvised couch remained, unsmiling and im- 
movable. 

"Three o'clock. Sahib," he repeated solemnly. "Sa- 
hib's horse outside." 

"Go away !" said the judge. "I didn't expect it in the 
drawing-room." He pulled his handkerchief farther 
over his face and feigned sleep. Then as though con- 
scious that his impassive Nemesis was about to reiterate 
his information for the third time, he kicked away the 
chair which supported his nether limbs and sat up. 
Now, what the devil is the matter?" he demanded. 
Three o'clock. Sahib. Sahib's horse outside.'* 
Yes, yes, I've heard all about that. What I ask is, 
what do I want with a horse at three o'clock in the after- 
noon? You don't know? Well, I'm sure I don't, 

II 



ft 



12 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

though you seem to think I ought. Let me see — ^what 
clothes have I got on? That might give me a hint." 

He got up and inspected himself thoughtfully. "My 
best breeches, eh? A silk tie — and I perceive that my 
new and most comfortless toppers await me. Son of the 
Night, there is a lady in the case — cherchez la femme as 
our French friends say, though with a different accent. 
There, give me my coat. I shall remember in a minute." 
He seated himself again and stretched out a stockinged 
foot for the boot which the native held in readiness. It 
was a somewhat tight squeeze, and the judge groaned 
softly. "It must be an altogether exceptional lady," he 
muttered. "Who the devil — " He stopped and a slow 
smile dawned over his face. "I have it! Of course! 
Son of the Night, you should have been more insistent. 
I*m going to be late for tea. Now, just cast an eye over 
me and tell me what I look like." 

The native glanced at the massive figure in spotless 
duck and bowed his head reverently. 

The judge chuckled. "Well, that's one way of getting 
out of it, anyhow," he said. "Now for it !" He adjusted 
his sun-helmet carefully, took his riding-crop from the 
table and limped out on to the veranda. A wave of dry 
lifeless air greeted him, and he stood for a moment in the 
shadow evidently more than half inclined to turn back. 
But the syce with the big raw-boned horse stopd at the 
bottom of the steps, stoic and unrelenting, and the judge, 
apparently bowing to the dictates of Fate, crossed the ru- 
bicon into the blazing sunshine and swung himself heavily 
into the saddle with a groan which the pigskin echoed. 
The horse took an involuntary step forward and the judge 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 13 

repeated his chuckle. "I'm getting too much for you, 
Sarah Jane/' he said regretfully. "However, I dare say 
youll bear me as long as I want you. Now then, old 
lady, make an effort, will you ?" 

The "old lady" complied with his request and ambled 
sedately out through the compound gates and on to the 
highroad. Without any apparent indication from the 
judge, she took the turning to the right and broke into a 
trot that lasted until they had left the last human habi- 
tation behind them. No one had witnessed their prog- 
ress. The European quarter was wrapped in profound 
slumber and such natives as were visible lay about in the 
shade of their dirty tumble-down dwellings and deigned 
the passer-by not so much as a glance. Nevertheless, as 
though fearing unseen witnesses, both horse and rider 
kept up a certain appearance until the last hut was out of 
sight when the "old lady" immediately relapsed into her 
amble and the judge collapsed in his saddle like a man 
suddenly deprived of his back-bone. 

He was tall, heavily built, with a figure and a square- 
cut, ruddy face which seemed to combine to represent 
strength and a robust good nature. Irritable, parchment- 
skinned Anglo-Indians were wont to look upon his appar- 
ently blooming health and unimpaired nervous system 
very much in the light of a personal insult. The fewest 
were clever enough to see beneath the surface and those 
who. did were discreet enough to hold their peace. A man 
who successfully "keeps up appearances" year after year 
in a tropical temperature deserves to have his secrets re- 
spected, and the judge had never been heard to complain. 
He carried himself bravely in the eyes of the world and 



14 iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

if at the present moment he hung in the saddle with 
bowed shoulders and a white puffy face that was not 
good to look on, there was at least no one to note the pass- 
ing weakness — ^not even the "old lady", though in any 
case she would not have counted. 

That worthy animal had her own burdens to carry — in 
every sense of the word — ^and plodded on through the 
blinding heat with a mechanical stoicism which suggested 
that a brick wall would not have stopped her. Evidently 
she was well-acquainted with the road and her present 
destiny. At a sudden bend, which revealed a low white 
bungalow lying well back among a pleasant clump of trees, 
she jerked her head and resumed her canter with a spirit 
wholly inconsistent with her previous performance. The 
judge sat up, like a man aroused from sleep by a well- 
known signal. He straightened his shoulders and as 
though obeying some command of the will, color ebbed 
slowly back into his cheeks. The moment's rest "behind 
the scenes" was over and it was as a dashing cavalier that 
he swung into the compound and drew rein at the veranda 
steps. A native servant lay curled up in the shade, ap- 
parently undisturbed in his slumbers by the sound of 
horse's hoofs and the judge bent over in his saddle and 
tickled him playfully in the ribs with his whip. 

"Now, then, Josephus, bestir yourself, will you ? No, 
it's all right, I'm not the tenth avatar. Just help my 
mortal remains out of the saddle — so, that's better. Ah, 
then I am expected!" He ran up the steps with the 
agility of a boy, one big hand outstretched, his square 
face transformed. "Do you know, I was* afraid I had 
dreamt it !" 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 15 

His hostess, who had advanced out of the shade of the 
porch to meet him, smiled faintly. 

"I hope it was not a nightmare, Judge !*' 

"It was a day-dream," he answered, "and, alas, day- 
dreams have a trick of proving delusive. It took all the 
eloquence of my boy and my boots to persuade me that 
your note of this morning was not a pleasant trick of my 
hopeful imagination." 

**Your boots ?" she queried. 

He looked down at the articles in question and then at 
her. His expression was ludicrously reproachful. 

"My dear friend, can't you seef 

"They certainly are very beautiful — " 

"And an intolerable tight-fit. Do you think I should 
sacrifice so much for my appearance to please any onef 

She laughed quietly. 

"I accept the compliment, but come in. I have ordered 
tea in the drawing-room. You will be thirsty," 

He followed her, endeavoring to control a grimace 
of pain, for the patent leather boots, following the laws 
of their species, had contracted. Once in the shady 
drawing-room, he chose the first strong chair and sat 
down with a sigh of relief. 

"It will be some time before you get me to move 
again," he said conclusively. "I have suffered much and 
I claim my just reward." 

She seated herself opposite him but close to the open 
window, so that her gaze could wander over the sun- 
scorched plain that undulated toward the hills. The 
smile hovering about her straight-cut mouth was contra- 
dicted by her eyes, which were grave and preoccupied. 



'iB THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

'TTou need not be afraid," sHe said. "I am not so in- 
considerate as to ask a busy man like yourself to call on 
me in the hottest time of the afternoon for the pure 
pleasure of sa)dng how-do-you-do. I have something 
serious to talk to you about, and I wanted to be alone." 

The judge opened his small blue eyes wide, but made no 
immediate answer, allowing the entrance of a native with 
a silver tea-tray to fill up the silence. During the noise- 
less arranging of the cups he took the opportunity to 
study his hostess with a frank and uncritical admiration. 
A critical observer would have admitted that she made 
a striking but not beautiful picture, though he might have 
been hard put to it to explain the latter limitation. Perhaps 
the exceptional about her was too emphasized; for the 
human taste has erected conventional standards in human 
beauty, to trespass against which may bring even perfec- 
tion very near to the repugnant. 

The woman seated by the window was, indeed, not per- 
fect, but so nearly did she touch that high ideal that it 
was difficult to understand why for many eyes she was 
physically almost displeasing. True, it depended on the 
eyes. The ladies of Kolruna declared among themselves 
that there was something about Mrs. Hurst's beauty 
that made them **go cold all over," as they expressed it, 
but the newly arrived subalterns raved about her and 
wanted to marry her. Which was an innocent enough 
form of insanity, for Mrs. Hurst's attitude toward them 
was scarcely even maternal. As a consequence they ended 
by calling her a "hard woman", and their admiration be- 
came tinged with a nervous respect. Her very height and 
bearing seemed to claim that much tribute from them. 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 17 

Her shoulders were broad and straight like a man's and 
suggested strength, though they were perhaps a little 
too out of harmony with her otherwise slight and fragile 
figure to be altogether graceful. On this particular after- 
noon, her height was accentuated by her dress. The judge, 
who fancied himself a connoisseur in such things, would 
have described it as "flimsy" and waved his hand vaguely 
as a final touch to his description of the indefinable. The 
ladies of Kolruna would have said ''one of those wickedly 
expensive tea-gowns, my dear, with real lacel" and ex- 
changed glances which would have given a fillip to many 
an old half-forgotten scandal. In reality it was Mrs. Hurst 
who looked "expensive" rather than the dress. The slim 
strong hands lying passively on the arms of her chair 
were beautiful enough to make the observer believe any- 
thing of the laces that framed them; the face turned to 
the light was a face that might possibly have seen suffer- 
ing but never the baseness of the cheap and tawdry. No 
doubt it was her face which frightened and even repulsed. 
It was colorless, whiter than marble and rendered start- 
ling by the straight black brows and the somber heavily- 
shadowed eyes. Her hair, which was abundant, and 
arranged with consummate art, was white also and of 
that whiteness which alone nature can give. But she was 
not an old woman. Her face was unlined. Even the 
hard mouth betrayed no sign of years. Nor was she 
young. Her bearing and expression denied youth. It 
was as though a beautiful girl had sprung into middle 
age without transition — perhaps in a single night — and 
had since that one tremendous change remained station- 
ary, indifferent to the behests of time. 



i8 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

But, as it has been said, the man who watched her was 
not critical or disposed to discover the whys and where- 
fores of his own admiration. It was obvious that he 
looked upon her as something of a riddle — a riddle that 
it was not for him to solve. Suddenly she turned and 
looked at him, and the color in his face deepened. 

"Pour me out some tea, Judge I" she said. The tone 
was commanding to the point of abruptness, but he 
obeyed with an alacrity which proved that it had pleased 
him. For a big man his movements were surprisingly 
dainty, and she smiled at him with a faint pleasure. "I 
like to have you about me," she said. "You do not get 
on my nerves. Now sit down — closer. As I told you, 
I want to talk to you, and no one knows how long we 
shall be spared before some busybody discovers that we 
are having tea alone together. Among other things I 
want your advice. You are the only friend I have here." 

He bowed his head. 

"Surely not !" 

"I mean — ^the only person whom I can trust to be 
honest and keep my confidence — another thing altogether, 
no doubt." 

He looked up at her again. 

"You can trust me," he said simply. 

"Yes, I know. It's about David." 

"Ah, yes, about David." He sat back in his chair with 
a movement that was almost one of relief. "Is anything 
wrong? Has the young beggar been up to mischief?" 

"Oh, no, he is never up to mischief." The comers of 
her mouth twitched. "But he is twelve years old to-day, 
and I realize that I can not keep him here any longer." 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 19 

The judge nodded an eager assent 

"Tm glad you have seen that It has been on my mind 
for some time. Frankly, he ought to have gone years 
ago. Anglo-Indians can't stand this climate long and 
David is beginning to show signs of wear and tear." 

**Yes, he ought to have gone years ago," she repeated, 
'^but there were reasons." She turned her eyes back to 
the window. "The first was that I myself did not want 
to go to England. Here I have lived down the gossip 
of these amiable people who fancied I was only hunt- 
ing for a second husband. My return would start their 
tongues again, and I am old enough now to cherish my 
peace." 

"Must you return?" he ventured. 

"In the end it will tell upon your health. Why fni4st 
you return ?" 

She turned in her chair and measured him. Her eyes 
had widened and there was an expression of somber 
anger in them which made him flinch. 

"That is a question that lies outside the sphere of our 
discussion," she said imperiously. "That which has 
made India my home is my own affair," then her mood 
and face softened. "I am very rude. Do you hate me ?" 

"No," he said, "I want to help you. Tell me the 
other reasons. You could send David to school — or to 
relations." 

Her eyes went back to the plain as though drawn there 
by some irresistible fascination. 

*T>avid loves India," she said. "He has inherited that 
much at least. And he adores me." 



J- 



20 THE DAUGHTER OF BR\HMA^ 

'TTes." TEe judge linked his Hands loosely together 
and stared at the carpet. "I know/' 

"He thinks me a sort of supreme being," she went on 
rapidly, "and I suppose I kept him with me out of a kind 
of selfish weakness. I dislike scenes. But there was 
another reason." She broke off again. Her white 
strong fingers tightened on the arm of her chair. "You 
have heard of my brother and my husband's cousin, Sir 
Lawrence Hurst?" 

"Yes. In this part of the world we don't forget." 

For the first time the faintest possible color showed in 
her impassive face. 

"He has an only son. The son takes after his father 
and his grandfather. He is handsome and he is clever. 
He is a boy who will carry on the traditions of our fam- 
ily. My brother wrote to me and suggested that he and 
David should be educated together." 

"An admirable idea." 

She did not move, but he felt that she had shrunk in- 
wardly as though from the touch of fire* 

"You think so ? But there is one thing which you must 
take into consideration. I am ashamed of my son." 

"Jean— Mrs. Hurst!" 

"Do not force me to repeat what I have said. It is 
not pleasant for me to say or for you to hear, and you 
know I am not given to speaking lightly. Look me 
straight in the face, old friend. Forget all silly, senti- 
mental, maternal feeling, and answer as you would 
answer a stranger. What is my son?" 

The judge's face was scarlet, but he rose valiantly to 
the challenge. 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 21 

"A decent little chap— not like the others, I know — 
delicate, nervous, a bit of a dreamer, but a thorough up- 
right fellow — 3, — " 

"Don't! You will be calling him a gentleman next. 
And you are not being honest. You say he is not like the 
others. That is true. You say he is delicate — ^he is a 
weakling. You say he is a dreamer — ^he is merely stupid. 
You say he is nervous — ^he is a coward. He is ugly into 
the bargain and a cripple. I hate my son." 

The judge almost bounded from his chair. He put his 
hand to his collar as though he were choking. 

"Mrs, Hurst — ^sometimes you, — ^you are rather terri- 
ble." 

"No, I am merely sincere. Perhaps that comes to the 
same thing in this world." 

The judge nodded. 

**Yes, I think it does — ^sometimes." 

"You blame me. You think me wicked and heartless. 
Perhaps I am — ^according to the modern code of senti- 
mentalities. But we— our family has never cared much 
for that kind of thing. We have Spartan blood in our 
veins. Only the fittest can survive among us. Instinc- 
tively we cast out everything that is weak and useless. 
You can not blame us for that instinct any more than you 
can blame David — for being as he is. It is just the des- 
tiny of our characters — if you like to put it in that way." 
She paused and then went on quietly. "At the bottom 
we are not very different from the rest of our fellow- 
creatures. You are looking aghast at me because I have 
dared to express a general but unaccepted truth. You all 
shrink instinctively from every form of deformity and if 



22 THE DAUGHTER QF BRAHMA 

the Spartan method of dealing with such cases is oat of 
fashion it is simply because you have become cowards and 
look upon life — ^no matter how worthless and debased — 
as the highest good." 

"But hatred — !" the judge broke in as though it had 
been the last word she had spoken. His good-natured 
face was still white with distress, but she was not look- 
ing at him. She held herself, if possible, more erect and 
her voice became sonorous with strongly repressed feel- 
ing. 

"I hate my son with the same right as that with which 
I should hate him if he were burdened with some hideous 
moral vice. The one thing is as much an infirmity as the 
other. I hate him as I might hate a friend on whom 
I had built my life and who had betrayed my trust. 
I gave my soul for my son. On the night that my 
husband was murdered, I killed myself, everything in 
me, in order that he might live. I meant that he 
should not suffer through my weakness. You under- 
stand me? He was not to be handicapped through 
any fault of mine. I meant him to carry out the tradi- 
tions of our family and the race — ^as my husband would 
have done. He was to be a strong man who would serve 
his country — ^perhaps a great man, but at least strong. 
As it is, he is nothing and can be nothing." She got up 
and stood stately and immovable, with her white face 
still turned to the light. "I have hoped against hope for 
twelve years," she went on quietly, "but it would be 
absurd to deceive myself any longer. I must face the 
truth. I have brought into the world one of these medi- 
ocrities for which the world has no use. Fortunately, I 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 23 

am rich enough to take the burden upon my own shoul- 
ders. But David must go to England." 

The judge scarcely seemed to be listening. 

**You are unjust/' he burst out, "and your theories are 
— ^are — I don't know what they are — but it's all infernally 
cruel. You don't know what is in him yet. And after 
all, you are responsible. He is your son— and he loves 
you—*' 

"Love does not necessarily b^iet love — not in me. 
Where I love I must respect — ^yes, one can respect a child. 
/ have respected a dog. I once had a fox-terrier who 
attacked a cobra which it found in my room. It hadn't 
a chance and was killed for its daring, but I respected the 
little animal« I can't respect my son. I know I am 
burting you. I am sorry. You say I am cruel, but it is 
life that is cruel — ^not I. But we have had enough of 
theorizing. I can not convince you, nor you me. Our 
theories are our characters and we can not change either 
the one or the other— especially at our time of life. And 
now I want your help." 

The judge bowed without speaking. 

"David must go to school in England. As I have said, 
I do not want to accompany him and I have no one to 
help me in my choice. My brother is an Etonian and 
would want him to follow in his steps. But that is out 
of the question. All our family have been at Eton and 
David would suffer in the comparison. Besides, he is not 
strong enough. He must go to some private place where 
there will be some maternal soul to mother him. Do you 
know of anything suitable?" 

"Do you take me for one of the 'unfit'?" the judge 



24 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

asked witH a wry smile. "As it happens, I am from 
Winchester." 

"I know. Any one can see that I only thought in 
your wider experience — " 

"I have a brother who interests himself in educational 
matters. He might advise me. Shall I write to him?" 

"I should be immensely grateful. I want the matter 
decided as soon as possible. Mrs. Chichester is taking 
her youngest daughter, Diana, to England after Christmas 
and has promised to let David accompany her. He will 
be in good hands. In the holidays he will stay with my 
brother. I should have preferred it to be otherwise, but 
their meeting is inevitable. You will really help me?" 

"I will do all I can." He was silent a moment. "And 
afterward — ?" 

"You mean when he has left school? That is some- 
thing which only time can decide. His lameness ex- 
cludes an army career ; he is not clever enough for either 
the Indian civil or any of the other services. The choice 
in our family is limited. Perhaps he will have developed 
some harmless hobby and end as a country gentleman. 
He will have money enough. You see, I am conscious of 
my responsibility. But we have been serious long 
enough, and you haven't even had your tea. I have been 
too absorbed in myself to be hospitable." She turned 
toward the neglected tea-table, but he held out his hand. 
"Don't bother — I mean — ^not about me. I don't want 
anything. I only came to see you and now I must be off. 
I have any amount of work — ^and — " 

She looked up at him and smiled, and he stopped short. 
This time, the smile was in her eyes and the change lent 



UNPLEASANT THINGS 25 

her face a startling fascination. No man or woman 
had ever seen it without feeling that in some mysterious 
way sh^ had laid her hand on an innermost and unsus- 
pected chord in their being and consciously played upon 
it. The judge was no exception. He crimsoned like a 
boy. 

"It is unsafe to trust even one's best friend," she said. 
"I have shown you myself and I have made you hate me." 

It was not the first time she had used the word in 
their conversation together and she did not use it lightly. 

The judge shook his head. 

"I couldn't if I tried," he answered. "You know I 
couldn't." 

"And yet you are the only marriageable man on the 
station who hasn't done me the honor to suggest that I 
should become his wifel" she retorted. 

They looked at each other and laughed and the tension 
was gone. The judge's features resumed their normal 
expression of bluff good nature. 

"My position doesn't allow for such calls on my store 
of popularity," he said. "It's bad enough to have the 
natives potting at one at intervals, but if the subalterns 
started, things would get too hot even for me." He 
threw back his shoulders. "All the same, I won't have 
any tea.. I'm upset, and you've upset me, and the best 
thing I can do is to get Sarah Jane to jolt me for a 
quarter of an hour. I shall then be too sorry for myself 
to be sorry for anybody else. You understand? You 
forgive me ?" 

"You are sorry for David ?" she asked, taking his out- 
stretched hand with the smile still in her eyes. 



26 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



•i**" 



"Yes, I am. I can't help it. It must be rough luck 
to fail a woman like you. And the fact that it isn't his 
fault doesn't make it better. If he had been what you 
expected — ^well, he would have been a lucky dog. As 
It is—" 

"As it is?" she interrogated as he broke oflF. 

"— He isn't." 

"I shall do my duty," she answered. 

"Hum, that's precious little in this world," he retorted. 
He went out bn to the veranda and beckoned to the syce. 
"All the same, I shall do what I can for the little chap," 
he went on. "/ at least shan't be able to forget that he is 
your son — ^huUo, what was that?" 

She looked at him in astonishment. 
What is the matter? Did you hear anything?" 
1 thought I did — ^a sort of cry. This heat makes 
one's nerves hum. Well, good-by. I'm grateful to you 
for telling me all that. It has upset me, but I'm glad. 
Poor little chap 1" 

She watched him swing himself on to Sarah Jane's 
patient back and canter down the short avenue which led 
into the highroad. At the gate, he turned in his saddle 
and saluted her, and she waved back. But her eyes had 
passed beyond him to the plain and the distant hills and 
the smile that had lingered in their depths vanished 
wholly. 






CHAPTER III 



THE Spartan's son 



MRS. HURST believed herself alone and for a long 
time she stood motionless on the veranda watching 
the sky change from intense blue to gold and from gold to 
crimson. Across the broad path, a clump of bushes threw 
cool shadows over the long grasses and offered a pleasant 
resting place, but she never looked in their direction. 
Nothing — no instinct warned her. And presently, just 
as the sun began to sink in an apotheosis of fiery glory 
behind ^e hills, she turned with a proud, almost challeng- 
ing movement and reentered the bungalow. Then the 
grasses rustled and moved as though a breath of wind 
had passed over them and again all was still. 

But a boy lay there with his face buried in his arms. He 
had been there all the afternoon, his chin supported in the 
palm of his hand, watching her. Not for a moment had 
his 'eyes left her face and there was something in their ex- 
pression that was almost painful — ^an intense unchildish 
understanding, at first full of tenderness and awestruck 
worship and afterward terrible by reason of its emptiness. 
Nobody could have said that he formed a "pretty picture" 
and there was no denying that he was ugly. He had lain 
there like a grotesque, little brown fawn, and watched; 
the black curly hair hanging in disorder over the low 
forehead, the dark penetrating eyes staring out from 

27 



28 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

heavy overhanging eyebrows. The eyes were, indeed, 
the only possible points of interest in a sallow little face, 
which was neither pleasing nor even redeemed by the 
natural charm of youth. And yet it was expressive 
enough. As he had watched, it had been as though a 
skilled but unseen sculptor were at work, silently and 
scarcely perceptibly remodeling the clay beneath his fin- 
gers. 

At first, as the judge had cantered up the avenue, 
it had been a boy's face which had peered through the 
long grasses — ^not, as it has been said, pleasing, but still 
young with possibilities of childish humor lurking behind 
the mask of weariness and ill health. Then, as the woman 
had come out on to the veranda, a fire had been kindled. 
It had burnt brightly behind the ugly features and trans- 
formed them, making them not beautiful, but pathetic, 
and for the first time there had dawned that expression of 
absolute understanding that afterward was to become 
terrible. The woman's voice had floated to him on the 
still air ; he had heard every word distinctly, and his eyes, 
fixed greedily on her unconscious face, had seemed to 
drink them straight from her lips. And then suddenly 
the light had gone out. He had not moved nor had a 
great change come over his expression. But the life had 
gone. He had been as though the sculptor had swiftly 
cast his work in bronze and left it there without regard 
for the worth or beauty of his creation. Only the eyes 
betrayed that the boy still listened. They had never 
flinched nor left the stem white face opposite them, and 
in their piercing blackness, there was a dumb bewildered 
agony. 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 29 

But he had Iain quite still until Mrs. Hurst had gone 
back into her room and then he had fallen silently 
forward on his face. He did not cry — only every now 
and then a tremor passed through him, so convulsive 
and violent that it shook the frail little body like a 
vessel in the teeth of a terrific storm. Even that was 
not for long. Presently, horse's hoofs sounded once 
more on the graveled avenue and he struggled to 
his feet. His eyes were dry, but what little child- 
ishness there had been in his face was gone — stamped 
out — and it was a tired old man who stumbled out from 
amidst the bushes. A girl, mounted on a tubby but 
energetic pony, had ridden up to the veranda, and he 
went hesitatingly to meet her. The movement revealed 
his hitherto concealed infirmity. One leg was shorter 
than the other and caused him to limp, not badly, but 
perceptibly, and his shoulders seemed too broad for the 
rest of his slender figure. The girl smiled and nodded. 
'Hullo, David," she said. 

'Hullo," he answered. His voice sounded unsteady 
and rough, and he held his eyes fixed on the ground. 
"Where's your boy ?" he asked after a moment. 

"Oh, I don't know. I left him miles behind. He is 
so slow and stupid. I came to wish you a happy birth- 
day, David.'* 

He looked up then, as though he thought she was 
laughing at him. 

"Thank you," he said. His face had brightened for a 
moment and a faint flush showed itself in his sallow 
cheeks. "You look awfully jolly in that habit,'* he said 
shyly. "I like it." 



"] 



30 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Do you?" The fact did not seem to create a very j 
deep impression on her, though she glanced down at her- 
self with a sort of objective interest. The habit was of | 
some light khaki-colored material, and so cut as to make j 
her look older and taller than she really was. Moreover, 
she held herself very erect, and only when she had ' 
snatched off her helmet with a movement of impatience, | 
did she reveal herself as a child — scarcely so old as the 
boy beside her. But the contrast between them was almost ' 
startling. She was pretty and her prettiness was of a 
kind that promised more in the future. Her features 
were small, but regular, and her eyes, deep gray and 
almond-shaped, were unquestionably beautiful. But 
what distinguished her most from her companion, was 
the youth, the health and energy which seemed to radiate 
from her. Her laughter had poured out sparkling from 
an inexhaustible source of joyousness, and in every move- 
ment, in the very poise of the head, there was a vivacity, 
courage, all the insignia of a strong decided tempera- 
ment. But as yet her chief charm lay in her uncon- 
sciousness. She did not seem to know that she was 
pretty, or if she did, the knowledge left her indifferent. 
Her hair, which was fair with a decided tendency to way- 
wardness, had become disordered ; she tore off the ribbon, 
very much as she had removed the helmet — ^with impa- 
tience, as though the inanimate objects had personally 
annoyed her — and tied it up again in a screw which was 
vastly unbecoming. Then she shook her head, evidently 
to assure herself that everything was firmly in its place. 

"Mother said I was to come and play with you," she 
remarked abruptly, "but I met Dick on the way and we 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 31 

raced. I won, but it made me late. I suppose I shall have 
to be getting home now, or they will be frightened. Any- 
how, I've wished you a happy birthday, haven't I ?" 

"Yes — ^thank you." He turned his face involuntarily 
toward the red west. "It's nearly over now," he said, 
with a little twisted smile. 

"Did you get nice presents ?" 

"Yes, mother gave me a model engine and Major Hal- 
stone a book on the Indian mutiny." 

She laughed again. 

"How funny !" 

"Why funny?'* 

"Oh, I don't know. It just struck me you wouldn't 
care for those sorts of things." She turned her pony's 
head around to the gate. "You are to give mother's 
kind something or other to your mother," she went on. 
I'm sorry I haven't time to play with you." 

It doesn't matter — FU just go as far as the gate with 
you." He had laid his hand on the saddle, but the impa- 
tient pony broke into a trot and in his stumbling effort to 
keep pace, he nearly fell. She reined in immediately 
with a movement that was not without impatience, and 
the blood surged into his sallow cheeks. "Sorry!" he 
apologized. "I'm no good at running." They relapsed 
into a walk again, and suddenly he looked up at her. "I 
expect you are quite glad you haven't got to play with me, 
aren't you?" he asked. 

"Why?" 

''Well, you don't much care for it, do you ?" 

She replaced her helmet and adjusted it so that Ker 
eyes were shaded from the horizontal rays of sunlight. 



it 



32 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Oh, I don't mind — ^but I always win, you sec." 

"You only like to be with people who win ?" i 

She nodded emphatically. I 

"Yes." 

"Dicky, for instance ?" 

"Oh, I can beat poor old Dicky at most things," she 

retorted. 
He hung his head. '] 

"I don't think I shall ever win at an)rthing," he said, 

almost inaudibly. She did not seem to be listening. A 

sudden flush had come into her cheeks and her eyes i 

sparkled with some new thought. 
"And after Christmas we are going to England," she 

4 

burst out impetuously. "Just mother and I. Our berths 
are already booked. Won't it be fun?" 
I — I am to come, too," he stammered. 
You — ^with wjf" She stared at him, open-mouthed. 
Yes — I'm awfully sorry. It would have been more fun 
if I had been Dicky." His tone was apologetic. "But 
mother won't — can't go, and I am to be sent to school." I 

"How jolly! Where are you going? My father and 
your father were at Eton. I expect you'll go there, too." 
He made no answer. His small thin face was stony. 
"You'll miss your mother, though," she went on more 
seriously. "You're awfully keen on your mother, aren't 
you?" 

Just for a moment the fire rekindled — ^then it died 
down. 

"She is the loveliest woman in the world," he said. 

She did not deny this statement, but she appeared to 



"] 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 33 

ruminate on it, Tfiere was a faint pucker between her 
arched brows. 

"It's funny," she said absent-mindedly, patting the 
pony's sleek neck, "you like lovely things and I like big 
things — it ought to the other way round, I think.'* 

He let this piece of wisdom pass unanswered. They 
had reached the gate of the compound, but he still held 
her saddle, and a look of eager nervousness had come 
into his face. 

"I say, Di," he began, "you have lessons with Mr. 
Eliot, don't you ?" 

She pulled an eloquent grimace. 

"I should just think so," she said. "I wish I hadn't. 
His lessons are as dull as his sermons, and nearly as 
stupid. Only I suppose he can't turn arithmetic quite 
upside down like father says he does the Bible. He 
knows I should jolly well find him out. I hate him." 
Her tone was annihilating and the hearer felt that Mr. 
Eliot must have inevitably withered under it. 

"He used to give me lessons, too," David said, "but 
after a few times he wouldn't. He said I — I wasn't 
strong enough. So I don't know much. I wish you'd 
ask him something for me." 

"What is it? I'll ask him when I don't know an an- 



swer." 



"Ask him what a Spartan is." 

"A Spartan?" She frowned thoughtfully. "I've 
heard of that. It must be something I liked or I 
shouldn't remember iti^ Yes, I know. Spartans were 
people who were fond of sport and exercise and hardship 



34 iTHE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA' 

and never gave in when they had a pain. They hated 
luxury and all that sort of thing, and when they had babies 
who were weak or deformed, they just killed them:" She 
gave a soft chuckle. "I told Mr. Eliot it was a very good 
idea, but he said it was wicked. I expect he knew they 
would have drowned him at once." She was too amused 
at the idea of Mr. Eliot's probable end to notice her 
companion's face. It had grown very pinched. 

"They were a wise people," he said. *'I wonder if their 
mothers were sorry — sometimes." 

"I expect they were ashamed," she decided. "How- 
ever, one can always get new babies if the first ones aren't 
nice." She urged her pony a little on one side as though 
to free it from the boy's grasp. "I must go, David. It's 
getting quite dark, and father says it isn't safe to be out 
after sunset. There are all sorts of horrid natives about 
just now— dacoits and secret sects and all that sort of 
thing. I'm not afraid, but mother gets fits. Good-by." 

"Good-by, — and — ^Di, don't say an)rthing about my go- 
ing to England. Perhaps I shan't, after all." 

"All right— oh, here, I had almost forgotten!" SHq 
put her hand in her pocket and drew out a battered-look- 
ing object that had once been a rose. Unfortunately, it 
had suffered in its close quarters, and there was little left 
but the stem and a few crumpled petals. She considered 
it ruefully. "I am sorry. It was so pretty in our gar- 
den. It's rather faded now, I'm afraid." 

He took it from her quickly. 

"Never mind — it was awfully good of you to give it 
me. Thank you!" He was close to her and again she 
looked down into his face and started. 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 35 

''You do look green!** she said. 

He gave a little unsteady laugh, and the expression 
which in an old face would have been passionate, faded. 

"I'm tired — I'm nearly always tired," he said. "Good- 
by, Di !" 

"Good-by !" 

She shook the reins and tKe pony broke into a smart 
canter, whirling up the dust under its impatient hoofs. 
David waited until the white clouds subsided and the 
upright, energetic little figure had disappeared, but even 
then he did not move immediately. There was something 
forlorn and helpless in his attitude, as though he did not 
know where to turn or what to do. His gaze wandered 
over the yellow corn fields to the jungle-clad mountains 
and rested there wistfully and questioningly ; they seemed 
to hold for him some secret, some mystery which he would 
fain have solved. 

"Little Sahib ! Little Sahib I" 

Still he did not move. The ayah, who had been gazing 
curiously around from the veranda, came toward him 
with short quick steps, which set her silver anklets jin- 
gling musically in the stillness. She had a pretty, dark 
little face, no longer young, and her white teeth gleamed 
as she touched the boy's arm. 

"Little Sahib must come in — Mem-Sahib ask for him. 
It is not safe here after dark." 

He shook his head, but did not look at her. 

"That's all right, Sita. I'm glad you've come out. I 
want to know all about things — ^and about the temple." 

"The temple?" The smile died and gave place to a 
look of blank stupidity. "What tempte. Little Sahib?" 



36 3^HE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"You know — out there." He pointed toward the 
hills. "You told me about it one night when I was ill 
and you wanted to send me to sleep. You called it the 
buried temple — ^the temple to the unknown." 

"It lieth in ruins," she answered, and her dark eyes 
flashed involuntarily in the direction that he indicated. 
"Twelve years ago last night, the Lord Sahib, thy father, 
fell beneath the knives of the priests who worshiped there 
— ^he and all those who went with him. In the dark he 
dragged himself through the forest — thither to the very 
doors of his house, and there he died. And on the morn- 
ing of the next day thou wert born." She clasped her 
hands with a gesture of horror. "The face of the gods 
was turned from the Mem-Sahib in those hours; the 
curse of the evil spirits lay upon her. For a little I 
prayed to Parvati that the soul of thy father might enter 
into thee to bring her comfort. Ay, I oflfered incense 
and sandalwood at the Holy Shrine. But it was not to be. 
The curse was on her and hers." 

David winced. She had spoken in Hindustani, but he 
understood her, for it was the language he had heard 
from his first hours. 

"Tell me more," he commanded. 

"Little Sahib, I know no more!" Nevertheless, the 
dulness had gone out of her face and she went on rap- 
idly. "In those days it was a great temple. It stood 
alone on the high mountain, above the forest, like a god 
among a million worshipers. And at morning, the sun 
kissed its altars from the east and at evening from the 
west. Its courts were full of pilgrims — ^holy Yogi who 
came on their knees from the banks of the Mother 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 37 

Ganges — ^and its priests were wise and powerful. In 
those days Vishnu was god." Her voice rang with a 
suppressed excitement and then died down. She shook 
her head impatiently, for she was a Sudra and had been 
baptized into the Christian faith. "But now all lieth in 
ruins and Vishnu is no more/' she finished in a subdued 
tone. 

"You call it the buried temple — ^why ?" 

"I know not." The old blank look clouded her face 
and her eyes sought the ground. "It is but a name, like 
many others." 

"And it was there they killed him !" the boy said, half 
to himself. "What had he done to them, Sita ?" 

He did not see the subtle smile that flashed across her 
features. 

*T-ittle Sahib, the people were angry in those days. 
They did not love the Feringhi as they do now, and it 
was said among them that the English missionaries had 
stolen the son of the high priest, Nana Balagi. It may 
be that it was a falsehood, for Balagi had many enemies, 
but the Brahmans believed it and laid plots for their re- 
venge. Lai Pandra, an accursed Mahomedan, betrayed 
them, but they were warned. When the Lord Sahib came 
they kilied him." 

"That was unjust — ^treacherous! He at least had not 
stolen the child." 

"The secrets of God are holy," she answered, with her 
eyes still fixed on the ground. "The Lord Sahib had seen 
what it is not for the unholy to see." 

"Are we the unholy? I wonder what Mr. Eliot would 
say !" He gave a little laugh and then g^ew grave again. 



38 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"But now there are no more priests, no more worshipers, 
no more sacrifices ?" 

She drew a little closer. Her voice dropped suddenly 
to a whisper. 

"Little Sahib, it is written in the Veda — ^the altars of 
the gods shall not go unserved, the sins of the faithless 
shall not hold from them forever the homage whicK is 
theirs. What should I know? Am I not as the Mem- 
Sahib, worshiping as she worships? Yet even I hear 
whispers, and it is said that at night time, when the moon 
rises, the unsullied souls return for an hour from Swarga 
to kindle the dead fires and pour out sacrifice before the 
altar. Thus shall the sins of the people be washed pure 
as the lotus flower." She checked herself. "Such is the 
superstition of the ignorant," she muttered. 

David Hurst shivered. 
^Has no one ever seen?'' he asked, awestruck. 
Who should dare, little Sahib? Ay, the priests, per- 
haps, but they hold their peace. They alone know." 

"Surely one of us would dare !" he broke in proudly. 

Again the same swift enigmatic smile. 

"Little Sahib, thy father was a brave man. He dared. 
It is death. For who shall look on the eternal and live ? 
Ah — " She gave a quick dissatisfied gesture. "I talk 
as one who has never known the Truth. I am old. The 
memory of things past arises at nightfall. Come, little 
Sahib. It grows dark." 

He shook himself free, gently but firmly. 
"No, no, Sita, I want to stay out here. It will do no 
harm, and my mother will not miss me long." His lips 
trembled. "Go, Sita !" In his thin voice there was a note 



"J 



THE SPARTAN'S SON 39 

of autHority which Anglo-Indian children are quick to 
learn. The ayah drew back. 

"It is well. Little Sahib." 

She turned and glided into the shadows. So soft 
were her movements, that her footsteps made no sound 
on the loose gravel, and only the delicious tinkle of the 
silver ornaments betrayed her whereabouts. David 
Hurst waited until the silence had reclaimed its sover- 
eignty ; then he crossed the road and entered on the nar- 
row path which led through the corn fields to the hills. 



^ V ,> -' 



^. 



CHAPTER IV 

IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 

THE red rim of the sun had already disappeared as 
David Hurst set out upon his journey, but a fire still 
burnt in the west and reflected itself in a somber glow 
over the plain and into the face of the lonely traveler. 
The shadows of the rapid Indian nightfall began to rise. 
They hovered, delicately lilac, on the outer courts of the 
sunset and signaled to their violet and purple sisters 
who crept up from the east and north and south waiting 
for the moment when they should close in over the 
drowsy earth. For a fleeting second light and dark- 
ness shared their dominion, and in that time of transi- 
tion David Hurst stood still and waited. He had 
come fast and his lips were parted in breathless 
sobs; his thin face was lifted to the sky, where 
the first star had risen resplendent, and in his 
eyes there was a kind of challenge. And suddenly he 
began to speak aloud. His hands were clenched, rigid at 
his sides, and his voice rose scarcely above a whisper, but 
every inflection, every word was weighted ; the frowning 
brows proclaimed a desperate incoherent thought strug- 
gling for utterance. 

"Oh, God, I don't know who you are, or where you are. 
I didn't even love you until — ^perhaps — ^now. I didn't 

40 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 41 

love you in the church, nor the you Mr. Eliot told me 
about. You were not beautiful enough. I loved my 
mother and Di. They are beautiful — I never thought of 
an3rthing else but them. I loved them so. I didn't know 
— oh, God, they don't want me — I'm not any good to 
them — ^I'm no good at an)rthing. Fm lame, and ugly, 
and stupid, and a coward. I quite understand. I 
couldn't love myself. I hate ugly things. And mother 
does, too. I know how it feels. Take me back! I 
couldn't bear it. I should always be thinking people 
hated me — ^and I should always be alone. Nothing beau- 
tiful could ever care for me — or — or — belong to me. And 
I'm no good. I've never prayed properly to you before. 
I didn't love you. You were church and Mr. Eliot and 
dull psalms and Sundays. I didn't want you. But I 
want you now. Out here you are different. You are the 
stars and the sky, and you are beautiful. You are a long 
way off, but I haven't any one else but you now. I'm 
not going on my knees to you — worshiping as Mr. Eliot 
calls it — ^because I'm sure you can't care for that sort of 
thing. I shouldn't — I should much rather people stood 
up and looked me straight in the face and said what 
they wanted, and didn't try to butter me up first. Of 
course, I know you can't care about me either, but I 
think you ought to be sorry when you make mistakes and 
put ugly helpless things into the world where they are 
no good. Take me back if you can and make me differ- 
ent — strong and clever and like my mother so that she 
and Di won't hate me and — laugh at me. For Christ's 
sake — " he broke off and finished — ^**because you made 
me. 



42 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

For a moment he stood quite still, but gradually the 
clenched hands relaxed. It was as though all his 
strength had fought in that effort at self-explanation, 
and now that he had succeeded, a kind of peace crept 
over him. And presently he turned and went on his way. 
The path widened. The com fields fell back on either 
hand like a receding tide and out of the open space the 
dark outline of a native dwelling stood out sharply 
against the background of fading sunset. David Hurst 
turned a little to the left so as to pass behind it. No 
lights burned, but he could hear the sound of voices 
raised in a dull monotonous chant, such as the Brahmans 
sing at eventide. David Hurst stood and listened fascin- 
ated. 

"Oh, Goddess, who dwelleth on the mountains of the 

West, 
Daughter of Brahma, mother of all the world, 
Thou child of the lotus-born, from whom cometh joy and 

sorrow. 
Hear us, receive our prayer ! 
Thou art more lovely than the golden dawn. 
Thou art stronger than all gods. 
Thou art purer than the lily. 
Hear us, receive our prayer. 
Illustrious mother, we bring our sacrifice. 
It is thou who receiveth and thou who offereth. 
We are of thee and thou art of us, 
Receive us into thy Paradise 1" 

The song died into a momentary silence. Then the sil- 
ver tones of a gong sounded, floating melodiously on the 
still air to the unseen listener, and four white-robed fig- 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 43 

ures passed out from the doors of the hut. For a Httle 
they stood with their faces raised to the sky in an attitude 
of solemn contemplation, then turned and followed the 
path to the hills. David Hurst drew back into the shadow, 
but he need not have feared detection, for they seemed 
neither to fear nor suspect the presence of a watcher. He 
heard their footsteps grow fainter and the soft full note 
of the gong, struck at regular intervals, hovered on the 
stillness like some dreamy memory of sound. Then the 
distance enveloped it utterly and there was silence. Da- 
vid Hurst crept out of his hiding-place. Clumsily but 
cautiously he made his way along the edge of the corn 
fields, his eyes straining through the luminous darkness, 
his breath coming in painful smothered gasps. His lame 
foot dragged, making a curious shuffling sound, and 
when he came once more in sight of the four natives he 
stopped a moment and waited. But they had not heard 
him. They went on in stately silence until the corn 
fields were passed and the jungle rose before them like 
a black wall ascending to the stars. Then once more the 
gong was struck, louder, more emphatically, as though in 
its sonorous tone it thought to embrace the world. 

"We worship thee, O Goddess, thou art Brahma. 
Thou art the Creator and the Created. 
From thee poureth forth the light. 
To thee the light returneth. 
Receive us into thy Paradise.'' 

The night of the jungle engulfed them. Here the gray 
ghostly light which hung over the corn fields faded into 
impenetrable gloom. Only overhead through the. twisted 



44 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

brandies of tKe trees the stars flashed down their signals 
with malicious brightness. 

David Hurst hung back, shivering. Panic and a 
despairing resolve battled over him. For him this 
was the end, the place of terror from which no 
man returneth. He looked over his shoulder. Be- 
yond the stretch of silver plain he could see the warm 
lights of the town, and standing apart, the solitary beacon 
of his home. So might his father have turned and looked 
back, twelve years ago. He was going along the path 
his father had trodden — ^but for other reasons, not because 
he was brave, but because he was a coward ; not because 
he was the most worthy to face danger, but because he 
was worthless. He did not reason it out. Instinct and a 
blind pain guided him to this desperate self-annihilation. 
"A weakling — 2, coward," Mrs. Hurst had said, and he 
knew it was true. His limbs ached with fatigue ; fear of 
the unknown froze his blood. But just for once — for the 
first and last time — he was going to act as though it were 
not true. Afterward — ^there was going to be no after- 
ward — ^but the disgrace would be wiped out. His mother 
would not have to compare him with those others 
who bore the name honorably, and be ashamed. He won- 
dered what they would think when they found him there, 
where it was death to go. Perhaps, after all, she might be 
a little proud. 

He turned back resolutely to the jungle and stum- 
bled on. There was no path now. Thick under- 
growth spread itself over the stony ground ; the branches 
of the trees struck him across the face and clutched 
at him with thorny hands; something moist and slimy 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 45 

writhed under his foot and went hissing into the 
darkness. The steepness of the ascent caused his breath 
to come in short stabbing gasps, and the blood throbbed 
at his temples, but he never lost sight of the figures which 
guided him. To his dazed eyes they seemed to float 
through the gloom like gray ghosts borne by some mys- 
terious wind. A moment later, they disappeared. Then 
terror won the upper hand ; the horror of the loneliness, 
the darkness, the intangible fastened on him like a fanged 
monster. A scream parted his lips, but was smothered 
by an effort of the will which left him shaking as with 
the ague. No — ^not that — ^not to be found because he had 
cried out like a coward. He felt that the half-uttered 
scream would have been stamped on his dead face and 
that his mother would have seen and turned away with 
scorn in her eyes. 

He plunged on blindly through the thicket, hypnotizing 
himself against fear and exhaustion, and suddenly the 
jungle fell behind like a nightmare and he stood in a 
vague half-lighted world that was as the dreamy transi- 
tion from sleep to wakefulness. 

Then, little by little, his vision cleared. He saw above 
him the clear be jeweled heaven, and before him the last as- 
cent, barren of all vegetation, and lit by the pale silver of 
the rising moon. The shadowy figures of his unconscious 
guides were once more visible, but they were no longer 
alone. From every side, others joined them till it seemed 
as though a white river flowed up toward the summit, 
silent, save for the reiterated note of the gong, which 
rang clearer, more compelling in the purer air. 

David Hurst waited until the procession had disap- 



i^6 lTHE daughter of BRAHMA 

peared over tHe brow of tfie hill, then followed cautiously. 
Fear still dogged him. His own shadow, gigantic and mis- 
proportioned, seemed to him a silent gliding enemy, who 
mocked his stumbling movements. In the open space he 
felt more alone, more helpless. Yet he went on steadily, 
his will mastering his weakness, a dawning curiosity lend- 
ing him a new cunning. For he did not want the end to 
come — ^not yet. There was something for him to see 
which he had not seen, something wonderful, terrible, the 
Eternal which Sita had said no unhallowed eye could gaze 
on unpunished. The punishment was death; his father 
had been punished and he, too, would be punished. It 
was a good thing, because he was worthless. But fear 
jogged his elbow and called to him to turn back while 
there was yet time, and he went on faster with set teeth 
until the summit of the hill was reached and the goal lay 
before him. 

He crouched in the shadow of a rock and gazed 
motionless and breathless. In sheer passionate won- 
der, he forgot to be afraid. Out of the bare arid pla- 
teau, a temple rose and stood outlined against the azure 
sky in towering majestic solemnity. It was in part roof- 
less, a temple in ruins, yet in that uncertain magic light, 
magnificent, its tragic disfigurements hidden, the nobility 
of its contour revealed, magnified, purified. Beyond the 
first gopura, long rows of stately pillars strove upward 
to the stars, and between them David Hurst saw the shim- 
mer of water, a silver mirror in which were reflected the 
thousand, mysterious, swift-moving shadows of the night. 
In the second court, one central pillar towered above its 
fellows, and from its summit a flame flickered like a red 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 47 

twisted tongue, and cast a lurid glare over the dense mass 
beneath, which moved and swayed as a corn field sways 
in a high wind, to the sound of a weird monotonous 
music. The wailing tones seemed to rise from the 
bowels of the earth and swept phantom-like over the 
plateau down to the distant jungle which lapped the sides 
of the mountains in dark sullen anger. 

"Glory to Brahma ! Thou art the Veda. Thou art the 
truth. Thou art the supreme being! Thy face is mar- 
velous. Thou art the face of the world. We offer thee 
our adoration I" 

The loud voice died into silence. David Hurst had 
stumbled across the intervening space, creeping from pil- 
lar to pillar, till he reached the entrance of the second 
court. The shadow of the gopura hid him. He saw 
then that the swaying mass was a serried crowd of men 
and women who knelt before the altar at the base of the 
central pillar, their faces bowed to the ground, their hands 
spread out in an attitude of supplication. One figure 
alone stood upright, a man's figure, clad in some white 
priestly garment which accentuated the dignity and power 
of his bearing. His face was turned away toward the 
open space at the west, but his voice rang out sonorously 
above the discordant music. 

"Daughter of Brahma, beloved of the gods, thou who 
hast deigned to revisit thy altar, appear unto us now, 
who worship thee !" 

Then there was silence, intense and oppressive. As 
though the wind that had swayed them lulled for a mo- 
ment, the kneeling crowd remained motionless, their 
heads lifted and turned toward the low-built sanctuary 



48 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

at the end of the court. Hitherto, it had been wrapped in 
shadow, apparently deserted, forgotten, now as the Brah- 
man raised his hand, the doors were opened and a flood of 
torchlight poured out into the semi-darkness, struggling 
with the white moon-rays, and throwing distorted re- 
flections on the mighty pillars. The dark illuminated 
faces were tense, frozen with expectancy, but still there 
was no sound, no ripple of movement passed over the 
serried ranks of worshipers. Then, swiftly, the torch- 
light was blotted out; lithe graceful figures glided out 
into the open space, their hands clasped above their heads, 
their bodies moving rythmically to the soft music of the 
bells which were fastened to their slender limbs. Moon- 
light, the flame behind, and the gray reflection from the 
high pillar illuminated them, revealing every feature, 
every line which the clinging draperies betrayed rather 
than concealed. 

Then dancers came on, swaying from the ankles, their 
steps almost imperceptible, till they stood within a few 
feet of the altar. There they stopped. Their feet seemed 
rooted to the ground, but their movements grew swifter ; 
there was a suppressed terrible violence in their gestured 
which appalled and fascinated. A band of musicians had 
followed them out of the sanctuary, but they did not play. 
In silence, save for the tinkle of the bells, the temple 
dancers swayed backward and forward, their dark faces 
lifted unsmilingly to the moonlight that flooded down 
upon them in cold splendor. 

David Hurst shivered, but the fear which pos- 
sessed him was a new thing. Though he trem- 
bled, his blood was on fire. He would have turned 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 49 

and fled, but he was held powerless by a mysterious 
fascination. There was frenzy in the air. It had its 
fierce source in the expressionless women's faces and in 
the dark eyes raised to the heavens in somber unfathom- 
able contemplation. It passed like an electric current 
through the kneeling watching crowd; it hung above 
them like a fiery specter, waiting for a moment when it 
should break out in all its maddening consuming force. 
It was the spirit of the horrible, yet mingled with the sub- 
lime, and no man in that moment could have told whether 
it were God or the devil who had inspired the fantastic 
scene before him. It was lovely and hideous, like the 
faces of the dancing girls, who were not beautiful, but 
transfigured by that same sinister smothered passion; 
it intoxicated the senses and benumbed the mind; the 
order of things, purity, truth, mercy, were swept into a 
wild shoreless sea; all thought, all humanity were lost. 
And the boy watching, suddenly forgot his fear either of 
the real danger or of himself; the spell held him. He 
waited as one waited for the final scene in some great 
drama, for the climax in some stormy symphony, breath- 
less, self-forgetful. 

"Daughter of Brahma, bride of Siva, appear unto us 
who wait in patience for thee !" 

The temple dancers divided into two lines and fell back 
on either side ; a wailing note of music broke on the pal- 
pitating silence and suddenly a great cry, which might 
have come from one throat, burst from the multitude. 

"Daughter of Brahma, Sarasvati, hear us!" 

They fell forward on their faces and David Hurst 
crouched against the cold stone wall of the gopura as 



50 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

though swept back by some wild tide of convulsive emo- 
tion. But his eyes never left the torch-lit door of the 
sanctuary. The flaming entrance was once more blotted 
out ; a shadow immense and loathing in its outline passed 
out into the moonlight, and advanced slowly toward the 
altar. A dozen staggering natives bore the idol on their 
shoulders, but in that moment it was more than a mere 
brazen image; it was the embodiment of the horror 
which hung intangible in the oppressive atmosphere, a 
living fiend, whose hideous features, distorted and ani- 
mated by the flickering light, grimaced at the distant 
shadows, and whose ruby eyes, behind which burnt a 
secret fire, glared bloodshot and hate-filled over the heads 
of the worshipers. The symbolic trident was poised 
aloft by one mighty arm as though awaiting the moment 
when it would be plunged into the heart of a quivering 
victim. Cruelty, Frenzy, Devilment, had built themselves 
a monument to all eternity. 

"Hail, Siva, Lord of the Worlds." 

It seemed to David that the lips of the idol twisted into 
a jeering smile which changed slowly to a straight im- 
passive line of cruel purposes, as the four bearers placed 
their burden cautiously upon the ground. But still the 
terrific figure towered above the worshipers who knelt 
motionless and silent, and the priest at the, altar bowed his 
head. 

**Siva, behold the bride whom the gods give thee I" 

A deep sigh, rising up from the heart of the earth, trem- 
bled in the air. A thousand distraught faces were raised 
in straining expectation. Only the idol remained impas- 
sive. And yet in that moment its sinister power wavered. 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 51 

Something had come which changed the course of the 
seething passions, turning, if only for a little breathing 
space, cruelty to pity, horror to an awestruck wonder. As 
the fiendish in that strange scene had taken visible shape, 
so also the sublime, the beautiful, had arisen in tender 
majesty, and for the moment conquered. It was a child's 
face which gazed out from the gorgeous be jeweled palan- 
quin, over the bowed heads of the multitude. The moon, 
now at her zenith, sent a full stream of light upon the 
exquisite features, set in a grave gentle composure, and 
lent an additional splendor to the magnificence which bore 
down the childish shoulders. A shawl of golden thread 
covered in part the dark head, and fell in glittering folds 
to the waist ; emeralds clustered across the forehead, hung 
from the tiny ears and weighed down the baby hands 
clasped sweetly upon her knees. There were blood-red 
rubies in her girdle and about her neck ; the stones sent 
out a reflection that surrounded her in a fiery halo, but 
it was not their beauty that held the eye. It was above 
all the face with its perfect innocence, its ineffable sweet- 
ness. The tender mouth seemed to smile, but the eyes 
were fixed far ahead and were full of a wondrous wisdom, 
which was not the wisdom of earth. They seemed to lin- 
ger over the memories of things seen not long before in 
a sphere whence she had come — ^unconscious of the loom- 
ing future, of life itself. So might the child Madonna 
have gazed back into her dreams, upheld by the same dig- 
nity, the same divine purity and grace. David Hurst 
took an unconscious step forward. He put his hand to 
his cheek, and found that it was wet with an emotion 
which lifted him forever out of his own childhood. He 



52 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

had seen something more lovely than his mother, more 
lovely than the hungry pictures of his imagination. The 
barriers which had surrounded his young life had been 
broken down and a new undiscovered world lay before 
him, rich in promise. The crushing loneliness was gone ; 
intuitively he recognized a loneliness greater than his 
own. 

"Daughter of Brahma, behold thy consort I" 

The full sonorous voice broke the spell. David Hurst 
crept back into his hiding-place. The temple dancers 
swayed forward and surrounded the bronze god and the 
living goddess, who had been placed side by side. Their 
dance had grown wilder, as though the hideous face that 
glared upon them had rekindled the smoldering fire of 
demoniac passion to a blaze^ but the child seemed not to 
see them. The grave eyes gazed over to the lake now 
sinking into shadow, the peaceful smile still hovered about 
the lovely baby mouth. And suddenly the dance stopped, 
the wailing music sank to silence. It seemed to David 
that God and the devil had fought and that God had again 
won. But the pause was short-lived. Four priests, bear- 
ing in their hands four-flamed lamps of gold which added 
to the uncertain light, advanced and took their stand be- 
side the two raised figures. A brazier had been lighted 
before the idol and a sweet smell of incense rose in the 
heavy stifling air. The high priest left his place at the 
foot of the altar and mounting the steps held in readiness, 
touched the hand of the god with some golden ornament. 

"Siva, thus shalt thou give unto thy bride the sacred 
tali!" 

The blazing jeweled eyes flashed as tht lamps were 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 53 

raised for a moment above the bearers' heads ; it seemed 
a sinister answer had been given. The priest turned and 
fastened the emblem about the child's neck. 

"Sarasvati, the tali is bound about thee as a sign for- 
ever. Daughter of Brahma, behold thy Lord 1" 

But she did not move ; the deep eyes saw nothing of the 
hideous graven face beside her ; the tiny hands lay loosely 
clasped in an attitude of unprotesting helplessness. And 
there was a dignity in the surrender which made the pite- 
ous mockery of it all less pitiable. 

"Daughter of Brahma, receive our sacrifices. Flowers 
and sweet perfumes bring we unto thee. Saffron and 
sandalwood, rice and betel are thine. Hear us when we 
pray. For we have waited long for thy coming, oh. 
Holy One. Evil has been done to thy annointed ; the un- 
defiled son of thy priesthood has been defiled, and thy re- 
venge has tarried long. But thy hour cometh, and 
when it comes be strong and strike till the shame be 
washed out in the blood of thy enemies." 

A murmur arose, at first low, but gathering volume as 
the temple dancers advanced, in their raised hands rich 
clusters of flowers, whose intoxicating perfume mingled 
with the incense. 

"Sarasvati I Sarasvati 1" 

The murmur became a shout, a triumphant passionate 
outcry, in which the note of frenzy sounded louder and 
more threatening. The kneeling crowd arose, and like a 
sea breaking suddenly through a restraining dam, surged 
and eddied around the two central figures, their dark 
distorted faces raised to the god who mocked at them and 
the child who saw them not. It seemed to the boy. 



54 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

watching from the shadow of the gopura, that she looked 
at him and that over the seething multitude they spoke to 
each other. Then god and goddess were raised on the 
shoulders of the carriers and guided by the priests with 
the four-flamed lamps, fought their way through the mad 
tumult to the sanctuary. 

For one last moment, David Hurst saw the baby- 
face; a shower of white rose petals fluttered down 
through the moonlight and dropped like magic rain 
into her lap and on the dark smooth hair. And then 
for the first time she smiled with a wondering pa- 
thetic pleasure. Then it was all over. The terrific hid- 
eous figure of the idol blotted her out, casting over her 
path a profound and menacing shadow ; the gates of the 
sanctuary clanged to ; the temple dancers lost themselves 
in the crowd. One of them stood near the gopura where 
David lay hidden. A Brahman, wearing the triple cord of 
his caste, forced his way to her side and caught her 
roughly by the wrist. He was a tall man, noble of bear- 
ing and feature, but his expression was that of a fiend. 
He spoke a few words, and the dancing girl looked up at 
him and smiled. Then both disappeared. 

David Hurst closed his eyes. He felt nauseated, 
though he did not know why. Something vile had 
brushed against him, and he strove to shut it out; 
everything but the child who had smiled at the 
rose petals. He knew that his own end was close 
at hand, but he felt neither fear nor despair. His 
own misery had sunk forgotten into a great sea of pity 
and tenderness. And when he opened his eyes again he 
found that he was alone. The multitude had vanished; 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 55 

the moon had sunk behind the gopura and threw an im- 
mense shadow across the empty court; the fire upon the 
pillar flickered and burned low. Overwhelmed by the 
startling change, appalled by the silence, he stood trans- 
figured, waiting for he knew not what. The shadows 
seemed to live. They moved forward and loosened them- 
selves from the somber background ; they came across the 
strip of moonlight and he saw then that they were men, 
evil-faced, with wild disheveled hair and torn filthy gar- 
ments which proclaimed their caste. Their movements 
were swift and cautious, as though they feared detection, 
and one of them bore something across his shoulders — a 
something which moaned and then lay still as he flung 
it roughly at the foot of the altar. For a moment, they 
stood huddled together, then one figure separated itself 
from the rest and advanced with raised arms. 

"Siva, great god of revenge and hatred, destroyer of 
all, not incense nor flowers nor betel nor the blood of 
goats bring we thee. Greater far is our gift. May it be 
well pleasing. Accept it and hear us ! Blot out our op- 
pressors, who sully thy altars, humble their arrogance to 
the dust, let the blood of their first-born flow even as the 
blood of this our sacrifice. For they have exalted them- 
selves above thy power, they have crushed us under an 
iron heel and the secret places of their hearts are defiled 
a£ with the touch of a Pariah. Hear us !" 

There was no reverence, no supplication in the low 
voice, but rather hatred and something not unlike a threat. 
The speaker bent over the prostrate figure, and again 
David heard the sound of a stifled moan. Then, as 
swiftly and as silently as they had come, the worshipers 



56 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

crept back into the darkness and disappeared. This time 
the silence and loneliness were absolute, but many minutes 
passed before David moved. He felt that some hideous 
dream had come true ; the stories of his ayah crystallized 
to a terrible reality. He had heard that these things had 
been and were no more, but the dark stain in the midst of 
the moonlight seemed to mock the boast. But he was 
bewildered, not terrified. This, then, was what his father 
had seen ! It was to prevent this, perhaps, that he had laid 
down his life— out of pity to save others, indifferent to 
himself. Twelve years ago ! And now the son who was 
a coward, stood before the same scene, before the same 
trial. David Hurst came out of his hiding-place. He 
limped through the broad shadow of the gopura and knelt 
down beside the motionless figure. The altar, with its 
menacing disfigured statue of some long-forgotten god^ 
towered over him, but he saw only the slender outline o^ 
the sacrifice, a native boy, scarcely older than himself, 
half naked and bound hand and foot with a thin cord 
which, bit cruelly into the swollen flesh, David touche<l 
him, but there was no answering movement. The eyed 
were closed, the dark well-shaped head was thrown back 
in an attitude that seemed to express an apathy akin to 
death. Only when David's unsteady fingers had loosened" 
the bonds, a tremor passed over the unconscious face, and 
the eyes opened for a moment. They gazed up into tht 
rescuer's face, blank and indifferent, but the freed arms 
stretched themselves out in an involuntary movement of 
relief, and a thin dark stream trickled sluggishly from 
the wrist on to the stony ground. David Hurst saw it and 
understood. He tore off his drill coat and ripped it from 



IN THE BURIED TEMPLE 57 

end to end. In less than a minute lie had made a rough 
bandage and saw with a thrill of exultation that the flow 
of blood had ceased, and that in the dark eyes, still fixed 
on his face, there had kindled a dawning intelligence. 
The whole significance of it rushed over him. He was 
no longer lame and ugly and stupid and helpless. He 
was not a coward. A human life had hung on his 
strength and courage, and he had not failed. God had 
done better than to take him back. He had given him his 
chance. 

"Come," David said in Hindustani, "come 1" 

The native made an effort to rise, but fell back with a 
sigh of utter weakness, and using a strength which seemed 
to have been given him for that moment, David half 
dragged, half carried him into the shadow of the gopura, 
and set him with his back against the wall. 

"We must stay here until the light comes," he panted, 
"then we will be safe, and I shall be able to take you 
home." 

He remembered then that only a few hours before he 
had meant never to return ; he had been homeless. But 
between then and now there lay a night and a great event. 
He knew that he would never again see the biting scorn in 
•his mother's face, nor the contemptuous friendliness in 
Diana Chichester's eyes. He had proved himself. God 
had been marvelously good. The native at his feet re- 
mained silent and motionless, apparently overcome by ex- 
haustion, but the quiet breathing told that he lived, and 
David made no effort to arouse him. His eyes were fixed 
on the closed and silent sanctuary, and a curious un- 
fathomable pain crept like a cold shadow into his heart. 



58 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

He thought he saw again a child's face smile across at 
him over the sea of mad human passion, and two baby- 
hands full of the fallen rose petals. 

"But now I shall save you, too," he said under his 
breath. "I shall never forget." 

Thus he watched and waited until the moon sank and 
the stars died out and the dawn touched the topmost tur- 
rets of the temple with her flaming torch. 



CHAPTER V 

MR. ELIOT PROVES HIMSELF A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 

IT was ten o'clock in the morning — ^not the usual time to 
receive visitors — ^and the expression on the faces of the 
three men standing about Mrs. Hurst's boudoir, not to 
mention the condition of their clothes, testified that some- 
thing unusual explained their presence. 

The room was small and feminine, but the femininity 
was neither typical nor very easy to define. The best one 
could say was, that obviously it was not a man's room. 
There was a suggestion of the exquisite in every article 
of furniture from the silk hangings to the Chippendale 
writing-table with its solitary Copenhagen vase as orna- 
ment, but the rickety and unsubstantial were wholly ab- 
sent. The table was made to write on and the chairs to 
sit in — exceptional features in a lady's boudoir. The 
judge, who had been standing for a full quarter of an 
hour, noted the safety of the chairs and with a sigh of re- 
lief chose the nearest for the reception of his bulky 
frame. He looked tired and his dusty riding-boots told 
of recent exertions, but his small blue eyes were very alert 
as they flashed from Mrs. Hurst, who sat with her 
back to the light, to her son, who stood in the middle 
of the room, the object of general attention. It must be 
confessed that he did not cut a heroic figure. He was 

59 



6o THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

coatless. His clothes were ragged and dirty, and his 
small sallow face bore a distinct and unromantic smear. 
There were heavy lines under his eyes and his head, which 
at first had been held with a certain resolute dignity, now 
sank as though beneath some oppressive burden. 

"So that is the story of your last night's adventure," 
Mrs. Hurst said suddenly, breaking the long silence. "It 
has been very interesting, David." 

The judge winced, and even Captain Chichester, a dap- 
per little soldier, who prided himself on being "as hard 
as nuts," twirled the ends of his mustache in evident dis- 
comfort The speaker's face was perfectly impassive, her 
tone expressed neither scorn nor irony, but nothing could 
have been more annihilating. David Hurst lifted his 
head for a moment, his eyes passed quickly from one to 
the other, as though seeking some explanation, then 
dropped. 

"I — I haven't any more to tell," he stammered. "I'm 
sorry if I frightened you, mother — " he broke off. The 
fluency with which he had at first spoken had long since 
broken down beneath the unresponsive silence of his lis- 
teners. He had stammered out an incoherent enough ac- 
count, dully conscious that he was failing utterly to make 
clear the wonders of all that had happened to him. He 
had meant to tell his mother everything, even to the con- 
versation he had overheard, and his consequent resolve. 
He had reasoned that, now he had proved himself, there 
would be no more barriers between them. They would 
be able to meet each other with the perfect honesty and 
confidence of two people, who, having misunderstood each 
other, mutually realize that they have been mistaken. 



A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 6i 

But he could not lay bare the workings of his heart, in 
themselves tangled and incoherent, beneath the critical 
eyes of these strangers. That was to come afterward, 
when they were alone. At present he could only tell the 
mere facts, and they were lay figures without life or 
power to move. His part silence handicapped him; he 
held back the vital truth with a clumsiness that aroused 
no s)ntnpathy. The fire of his enthusiasm burnt out. 
Suddenly he felt very alone. 

"And you really have no more to tell us, David ?" Mr. 
Eliot asked. His tone was grave and significant and 
David looked up quickly at him with a sullen suspicion. 

Mr. Eliot was a big heavily-built man, with a square 
clean-shaven face and a bullet head, whose close-shorn 
covering of hair gave his whole appearance something 
foreign. He had thick eyebrows, but they were too fair 
to give his features any particular character, and the eyes 
beneath were small and curiously colorless. In his most 
violent and rhetorical moments, they had never been 
known to light up or change their expression, and this 
was more noticeable as he was recognizedly very much 
in earnest. At the present moment, his whole attention 
was centered on the boy before him. His own attitude 
was impressive, but the baggy ill-fitting trousers and the 
retrousse nose were not, and David Hurst was more con- 
scious of a vague uneasiness than of awe. 

"That's all," he said briefly, and not without a touch of 
truculency. 

"Think, David. Remember we shall all understand if 
you have, shall we say, exaggerated a little. At night 
time one can so easily imagine things, can't one?" He 



62 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

had become ponderously sympathetic ; the Hearer felt that 
underneath it all he was saying, "Yes, I, too, was once a 
little boy, just like you. I understand so well all you are 
feeling," and David Hurst's face should have lighted up 
at the condescension of this grown man. Instead, he 
started as though he had been struck. 

"I — I don't understand what you mean, sir/' he ans- 
wered. 

"My dear David, it's just this — ^the story you have told 
us is very extraordinary. It is so extraordinary that I — 
and I feel that I confess the opinion of these others who 
have listened to it — ^hardly know whether I can be sure of 
its entire correctness. I do not want to hurt your feel- 
ings, little friend. We all know what it is to have dreams 
and nightmares and how they cling to us as realities." 

He was being very kind, very tactful, but David Hurst 
had taken a stumbling step forward. He was not looking 
any more at the clergyman, but at his mother. His eyes 
were fixed on her face with fear and total bewilderment. 

"Mother — " he said, "does he mean that he — ^that you 
—don't believe — ^me?" 

He spoke quite quietly and very slowly, choosing his 
words. Mrs. Hurst looked at him without the slightest 
change of expression. 

"You had better go and wash your face and get some 
breakfast, David," she said. "After so many excitements 
you will be hungry." 

"Mother!" the cry began in violent protest, ended in 
apathetic despair. David's eyes wandered around the 
room; they had become perfectly vacant and rather 
stupid-looking, and he made a little uncertain movement 



A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 63 

with his hands as though he were groping for support. 
The judge remembered Mrs. Hurst's description, and 
stared out of the window. He was feeling absurdly, gro- 
tesquely miserable. 

"You had better go, David," Mrs. Hurst repeated. 

The boy turned and limped toward the door. Fatigue 
made his infirmity painfully apparent, and his mother's 
eyes never left him. On his way he passed quite close to 
the judge and nearly fell over that gentleman's out- 
stretched legs. A kindly hand was held out to catch him. 

"Now then, young man, you'll be breaking your neck 
next! And look here, don't wolf your breakfast. I'm 
coming out to see you eat it and have a chat with you. As 
to compris, as our French friends say?" 

David smiled faintly at the judge's time-honored effort 
at facetiousness. Then he gently disengaged himself and 
they heard his unequal lagging step on the corridor out- 
side. An uncomfortable pause followed his dismissal. The 
three men felt ill at ease in the face of Mrs. Hurst's inl- 
passibility; she upset all their masculine ideas of what a 
woman should be under like circumstances. During that 
anxious night she had neither cried nor shown any alarm ; 
she had taken an active part in the search, spending five 
hours in the saddle, and it was she who had eventually 
found David and his protege some few miles across the 
plain. She had picked him up with an unexpected and 
unfeminine strength and had ridden home with him, 
Captain Chichester and the half-unconscious native boy 
bringing up the rear. Afterward, she had listened to 
David's story as a judge might have listened; the three 
men playing the part of a more or less intelligent jury. 



64 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

and though they were all equally clear that David was 
romancing, they would have preferred it had his mother 
either believed or punished him. Her total lack of feel- 
ing was uncanny ; it caused Mr. Eliot to lose something of 
his self-confidence, and contrary to his custom, he left it 
to some one else to break the silence. But the judge was 
plunged deep in his own thoughts, and Captain Chichester 
had never been known to open his mouth except when 
forced to do so, so that the task fell to Mrs. Hurst herself. 

"I have to thank you all three," she said quietly. "You 
have been most good in your endeavors to find my son. I 
am really grateful." 

It was a formal little speech which called forth a bow 
from the captain and an inclination of the head from Mr. 
Eliot. The judge looked at her and thought he had 
never seen her so extraordinarily beautiful. She was still 
in her white riding-habit, but her face bore no trace of 
the recent exertion; she might just have come out of her 
room, and the judge became uncomfortably conscious of 
his own disheveled appearance. She saw him look wo- 
fuUy at his boots, and smiled with so much htunor that 
the judge, who caught the change, felt a veil had been 
lifted, behind which lay endless possibilities. He got up, 
tempted to make an appeal against his own judgment. 

"We ought to be off and let you rest," he said, "but 
before I go I should like to be a little clearer about this 
business. I know David's account is improbable, but is it 
impossible? Surely there is evidence enough to speak in 
his favor. The temple undoubtedly exists; there is the 
boy whom he said he rescued, and a nasty cut in the arm 
to back the story up. Queer and ugly things happen in 



A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 65 

India — ^things we Europeans never get to see, although 
we pretend to see everything. As a matter of fact, we 
never have and never shall get to the bottom of the coun- 
try we govern, and so we can always expect to have our 
theories upset." 

Mr. Eliot waved his arm. He was in his element. 

"My dear Judge," he said, "I can quite understand 
your desire to see David's account in the most favorable 
light, but if I may venture to say so, you have not had my 
opportunities of testing the matter. As you know, I am 
deeply interested in the customs of the people, whose 
spiritual welfare I have so much at heart, and I can assure 
you that according to my investigation, the practises 
which he says he witnessed are absolutely extinct, thanks 
to the progress of Christianity. Moreover, I happen to 
know the temple where these scenes are supposed to have 
taken place. There is a small building in it, answering to 
David's description, but it is far too small to accommodate 
more than a half dozen persons. The idea of it containing 
crowds of dancers, let alone a big idol, is absurd." 

"But the boy — " the judge broke in impatiently. 

Mr. Eliot sniffed. It was an unconscious mannerism 
of his which could be intensely irritating, but he had, as 
he himself said, risen from the ranks, and the habits of his 
kind had risen with him. 

"Ah, the boy is indeed a problem," he admitted. "No 
doubt he had been mishandled before David found him — 
he may even have given the idea of the sacrifice — ^these 
Hindus are born liars. But I shall find out and in the 
meantime, unless the parents show themselves, I shall take 
the boy into my mission home and make a good Christian 



66 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

out of him. It IS an untold joy to me to receive another 
lamb into the flock — " 

Mrs. Hurst got up so suddenly that Mr. Eliot forgot 
the end of his sentence. Her face expressed a curious 
mixture of amusement and annoyance. 

"You are perfectly right, Mr. Eliot," she said. "Though 
I appreciate the judge's efforts to vindicate David, I con- 
fess I have not the slightest doubt that David has yielded 
to the temptation to make a hero of himself. Unfortu- 
nately, he is not cast in a heroic mold. And now you must 
come to tiffin. You must all be desperately hungry." 

Neither the judge nor Captain Chichester had had the 
slightest intention of remaining, but they followed her 
obediently out of the room, Mr. Eliot bringing up the 
rear. No sooner had the curtains fallen in their place 
than a big armchair by the window was pushed violently 
to one side ; a fair disheveled head made its appearance 
above the top and a very flushed face distorted itself into 
a fearful grimace, evidently intended for the reverend 
gentleman's back. Then Diana Chichester made her full 
appearance and ran out on to the veranda. 

"David !" she called. 

He was not to be seen, but having escaped the vigilance 
of her ayah, and walked the whole way from the station 
in order to take her share in the excitement, she was not 
now to be balked. Eventually she found the object of her 
search in front of the bungalow, leaning with his 
elbows on the veranda rail. 

"David," she repeated, and shook him by the arm. He 
did not turn or look at her. 

"What is it ?" he asked indistinctly. 



A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 67 



«T>- 



I've been hunting everywhere for you. I want to talk 
to you. I came over first thing this morning, and when 
I saw them all coming back, I hid. I knew they'd send 
me home or something. So I heard everything, David. 
That was a fine story you told. I didn't know you could 
tell stories like that. I'd have come oftener to play with 
you if I had known. But, David, what did you really 
do?" 

He remained silent and she put her head forward, try- 
ing to catch a glimpse of his averted face. 

"You might have known they wouldn't have swallowed 
it,'* she went on, determined not to let the conversation 
drop. "Mr. Eliot noses out a tarradiddle at once — it's a 
bad sign, I think, when people always find out other 
people. Anyhow, he's gloating over your little nigger- 
boy like I did that day I caught that big beetle, do you 
remember ? He's looking to take him into his school and 
make a good Christian out of him. Won't the little 
beggar squirm — " 

David Hurst swung around suddenly. 

"Mr. Eliot's not to have him," he said. "He's mine — I 
saved him — " 

"You saved him ? But they don't believe you — nobody 
does. And Mr. Eliot's got hold of him and won't let 
him go. Why — " she stopped short and her tone 
changed, "you didn't expect them to believe, did you?" 

A spasm passed over his face. His lips quivered but 
no sound came forth. 

"David!" she exclaimed. "It wasn't truer She 
stood staring at him, adjusting herself to this amazing 
point of view withfeminine quickness. The light-hearted 



- *u-/»>- 



A V i ; 






68 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

excitement had died out of her face ; very dimly she real- 
ized that here was something that she had not hitherto 
known — suffering. 

"David/* she said slowly, "if you tell me it was all true 
— on your word of honor — I'll believe you. I promise 
you I will. And Til make father believe you." She held 
out her hand. "YouVe only got to say." 

He did not take her hand. For one moment she 
thought he was going to strike it aside. His features 
were livid and convulsed, his nostrils distended. He con- 
trolled himself at last, but his eyes horrified her with their 
violent misery. 

"I shan't say," he burst out passionately. "I shan't 
ever say — not to you — not to anybody. I don't care 
whether you believe— or — or what happens. It's all no 
good — ^now." 

His voice broke. He turned from her and stumbled 
down the steps, too blind to know where he was going, too 
sick with pain to have any plan. His first thought was to 
get away from the prying contemptuous eyes and hide 
himself from their mockery forever. But then he seemed 
to remember something and, turning down a narrow path, 
made his way to the servants' quarters, at the back of the 
bungalow. He found the Hindu boy, seated cross-legged 
in the shade, an untouched bowl of milk and rice before 
him, his right arm bound in a sling. His eyes had been 
closed, but they opened as David approached, and lighted 
with the frantic distrust of a trapped animal. For a mo- 
ment the two boys, divided by an unbridgeable gulf of 
race, but linked, in that moment by an equal misery, 
stared silently at each other. Then David Hurst spoke. 



A JUDGE OF CHARACTER 69 

His voice was still rough, but the violence was gone, 
and beneath the roughness there was an anxious note of 
appeal and pity. 

"I saved you," he said slowly and carefully in Hindu- 
stani. "I thought I ought to — that you would be glad. I 
thought that — ^that afterward I should be able to make it 
all right. I didn't know. I'm very, very sorry. I hope 
you will forgive me." 

He did not wait for an answer, but turned and limped 
back the way he had come. 



j 



BOOK II 



1 



4 



( 



CHAPTER I 

AFTER TWELVE YEARS 

DAVID HURST had arrived in Kolruna. The stifling 
exasperating journey from the coast lay behind him 
and he stood on the low platform and listened to the con- 
fused clamor of tongues as an exile listens to long-lost but 
familiar music. Excited native bearers, laden with wooden 
bales, jostled past him and he showed no annoyance. Pas- 
sengers, native and European, shouted and gesticulated in 
the desperate search for their belongings, and he remained 
tranquilly in their midst, and waited — ^he scarcely knew 
for what. He felt himself a passive spectator in a scene 
in which he had as yet no part, but which was in some 
strange way part of himself. The noise, the vivid colors, 
the very heat and dust, belonged to his innermost treas- 
ure-house of dreams and memories. The drab years of 
his English life fell away from him and he picked up the 
threads of his existence where they had once been broken 
off with a strong sense of almost physical comfort and re- 
lief. 

A group of white-clad English officers from a native 
regiment excited his attention. They were congregated 
round a returned comrade, a pleasant-looking man, 
whose fresh complexion spoke of a recent experience of 
English climate, and the sound of their laughter came to 

73 



74 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

the solitary observer over the heads of the crowd. Pres- 
ently they drove off in the two carriages that had been 
kept waiting for them by their native orderlies, and a few 
minutes later, with a shriek of warning, the train steamed 
out of the station on its way northward, leaving behind 
a sudden startling quiet. The dust, which had been raised 
in clouds by the momentary bustle, sank drowsily through 
the still air, and the few native porters who lingered over 
their work had the appearance of having been left behind 
by a miniature cyclone. 

David Hurst looked round him and realized that he 

* 

shared his loneliness with an equally deserted-looking 
European at the farther end of the platform. He was a 
tall stoutly-built man, immaculately dressed, and with a 
certain air of exaggerated alertness that seemed out of 
place in his sleepy surroundings. David Hurst stared at 
him with a growing sense of recognition ; the stare was 
frankly returned, and after a slight hesitation, his com- 
panion in distress came toward him. 

It's David,*' he said abruptly, holding out his big hand. 
Or if it isn't David I'm making a confounded fool of 
myself. Not that that would be anything new, but it's 
a nasty feeling whose variety custom never seems to 
succeed in staling; so put me out of suspense. It is 
David, isn't it?" 

"Yes, it's David, all right. And you — ^you're the judge, 
aren't you ?" 

Hurst spoke with an almost boyish diffidence. He was 
feeling very young at that moment. The atmosphere, and 
above all, the florid-faced man beside him, had swept 
twelve years out of his life. 






AFTER TWELVE YEARS 75 



it 



a- 



I was the judge," came the good-humored answer. 
The Lord knows what I am now. But come along! I 
have my buggy outside, and my syce will look after your 
things. We have a bit of a drive before us, as perhaps 
you remember." 

Hurst remembered. As they rattled along the straight 
white road which led out of Kolruna to his mother's 
bungalow, he was conscious of a remembrance that was 
not without pain. Instinctively he kept his eyes turned 
steadily away from the distant hills. 

I suppose my mother is all right ?" he asked presently. 
In the best of health — ^nevei" ill," was the laconic an- 
swer. "She would have come to meet you this afternoon, 
but your telegram arrived rather late. She had some 
friends to tea, and she asked me to fetch you." 

David nodded. He had had no expectations, or if he 
had, their constitution had been too feeble for their death 
to cause him any particular pain. 

"It's very kind of you to bother about me, Judge," he 
said gratefully. "I've always remembered you best, 
somehow, and it did me good to see you. It was like 
meeting an old friend." 

"H'm — ^yes. I'm glad of that — always had a weakness 
for you, David. Are you pleased to be back?" 

"Very." He answered the abrupt question almost pas- 
sionately. "I've always wanted to come back. I've always 
felt I should be more in my element — ^less of an outsider 
here. I seem to belong to it, somehow, you know." 

"Yes, that's a feeling most people have who fall into 
her clutches," the judge observed thoughtfully. "You 
will notice I give India the feminine pronoun. It's ob- 



76 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

viously correct. She's a woman all over, inscrutable, fas- 
cinating, dangerous. Women are dangerous, you know, 
David — infernally dangerous." 

"Yes, I suppose so." 

"Go on supposing, and don't try to find out." The judge 
flicked his whip carelessly across the horse's back. 

"You'll miss your friends out here," he added in his 
abrupt fashion. 

"My friends ? I have none to miss." 

"My dear fellow — ^your school chums, college acquaint- 
ances, London acquaintances — ^good lord, you don't 
mean to tell me you've got through twelve years all by 
yourself ?" 

"Pretty well." He met the judge's amazed questioning 
with unstudied simplicity. "You see, I'm not very popu- 
lar." 

'Why the devil not, sir?" 

'Oh, I don't know. As a kid I was delicate — always 
bad at games and that sort of thing — ^and afterward, 
when I got stronger, I tried to make up for lost time with 
my books." 

"H'm !" The judge sat grim and silent for a few min- 
utes, then he shot a quick glance at the composed face be- 
side him. 

"How do you like your cousin, Harry Hurst?" he 
asked. 

"I admired him. He is a fine type of Englishman — 
sound of mind and limb^ And very chivalrous. He and 
his father were most good to me." 

"Indeed ?" with a touch of sarcasm. 






AFTER TWELVE YEARS ^^ 

"Yes. I came somewhat as a shock to them. As my 
mother's son they expected something different. But 
they hid it splendidly. They never showed me what they 
really felt." 

"David, you're a d — n fool, with hypersensitive feel- 
ings that are always getting hurt. I don't believe a word 
of it. Mrs. Chichester told me that she had heard from 
Diana that you were always in the thick of everything — 
a regular society lion." 

Hurst lifted his head, smiling faintly. 

"That was only for a month or two— before I began to 
work," he explained. "I wanted to try my hand at every- 
thing, you see, and to give myself a fair chance all round. 
Then — ^afterward — I felt it was a waste — I wasn't made 
to loaf, though heaven knows what I was made for." 

"Don't be cynical. Vm not cynical, and I doubt if even 
heaven knows what my job on this confounded earth 
consists of. However, revenons d nos moutons, as the 
French say. You know, I suppose, that Diana is arriv- 
ing next week?" 

"Yes." 

"We rather expected you would come over on the same 
boat." 

"I have not seen Di for two years." 

"Oh !" Then, after another contemplative silence : 
How long do you propose staying out here, David?" 
I don't know — as long as my job lasts." 
Oh, you mean with our Teutonic neighbor? H'm, 
you'll have trying times if you stick to it. He's the 
queerest fellow, and his friend is a shade queerer. Kol- 






78 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

runa has been trying to puzzle them out for the last two 
years, and has given them up as a bad job. I suppose 
you know all about it?" 

"I know next to nothing. Professor Heilig apparently 
wanted a secretary with some knowledge of Hindustani, 
and my mother told me about it. She knew pretty well 
I was no good for anything else, and when Professor 
Heilig wrote to me, I accepted. It gave me some ex- 
cuse to come out here." 

The judge coughed and glanced sharply at the set and 
resolute face beside him. 

"H'm, yes. Well, I hope you'll like it. He has a 
friend — Father Romney, as he calls himself — a Roman 
Catholic missionary — ^and between them they set Kol- 
runa by the ears. The professor snuffles among ruined 
temples, and Father Romney among lost souls. The 
latter proceeding is especially resented by your old friend, 
Mr. Eliot, who regards soul-snuffling as his special prov- 
ince. By the way, I suppose you remember him ?" 

"Yes," David answered. His tone was sharp and re- 
pressed, but he went on with a seeming carelessness. "I 
have often wondered what became of that boy — ^the one 
I rescued — in my imagination, at least. Do you know 
anything of him ?" 

The judge burst into a short laugh of vexation. 

"Rama Pal, you mean? My dear David, there is no 
chance of not knowing about him. He has turned out 
a marvel, a sort of enfant prodigue. Mr. Eliot regards 
him as his best example of the regenerate heathen. He 
has passed heaven knows what exams., is going to study 
the law in England, if he can find some philanthropist 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 79 

to pay his expenses, and goes to chapel twice on Sunday. 
What more could you want? Personally, I distrust the 
fellow. But there, you will see him for yourself." 

Both men were silent for some minutes. Unknown to 
each other, their thoughts had reverted to a certain morn- 
ing twelve years before, and the judge's face wore, as it 
had done then, an expression of vague discomfort. Sud- 
denly he turned to his companion. 

"I told Professor Heilig about you and that — ^that 
temple affair," he blurted out. "He was immensely in- 
terested. I think it was probably that which made him 
want to see you. He knows more about the religious 
part of this country than all our wise-heads put to- 
gether." 

"Then the workings of my childish imagination will 
scarcely help him," was the coldly deliberate answer. 

They had left the last huts of the native quarter behind 
them, and already the white outline of Mrs. Hurst's bun- 
galow showed itself through the trees. Hurst drew him- 
self upright and his face paled, though with what emo- 
tion the judge, who watched him narrowly, could not 
tell. 

"You don't look very strong, David," he said with a 
friendly concern. "You'll have to take care. This cli- 
mate plays tricks with one." 

"You have stood it a good number of years," the 
young man returned, but with a sudden softening in his 
tone. "Why do you stay on. Judge ?" 

"Me? The Lord knows." He swung his horse be- 
tween the compound gates with a sure hand. "Anyhow, 
what do you expect me to do? Settle down in Chelten- 



86 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

ham, eh? No, thanks. I'm better here, acting nursery- 
maid to the youngsters and making myself generally use- 
ful. Besides, the place has got an infernal fascination 
for me — can't shake it off. Queer thing, isn't it ?" 

'T don't know — I can understand. But my mother told 
me you had been warned — " 

The judge interrupted him with a snort of indignation. 
. "That's that d — ^n doctor again !" he said viciously. 
"What business is it of his? If I choose to die a few 
years before he considers I ought to, I shall. It's my 
life, I suppose, and my funeral. Anyhow, I have no re- 
spect for people who go about nursing their last days in 
hothouses. There, get out ; there's your mother." 

They had drawn up at the veranda steps, and David 
Hurst clambered down clumsily enough from the high 
dog-cart. For an instant a blur obscured his vision, and 
when it cleared he saw Mrs. Hurst standing in front of 
him, and behind her what seemed to him a sea of curious 
faces. But they passed — or rather, seemed to resolve 
themselves into a pale background for the one figure of 
a woman. She kissed him. He felt the cold pressure 
of her lips on his cheek, and wondered dully why she 
had done it The kiss made him indefinably ashamed. 
He knew that it had cost her an effort, although no line 
in her pale face betrayed reluctance. She drew back 
from him and looked at him. With her the years had 
stood still. Their placid unchanging course had neither 
softened nor weakened her, but he, her son, had become 
a man, and he stood before her now awaiting judgment. 
But she gave no sign. She took him by the hand and led 
him up the steps to the veranda. 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 8i 

"This IS my son," she said quietly. "Colonel Chiches- 
ter, you remember David ?" 

Colonel Chichester came forward with outstretched 
hand. 

"Of course I remember," he said briskly. "Pleased to 
see you." He had stuck his eye-glass firmly in one 
bright eye, and his sunburnt alert face expressed an 
awkward kindliness. "It's a long time since we saw each 
other last," he added. The remark was not original, 
but it served to bridge over a threatening silence. Hurst 
was conscious that the little group of men and women 
lounging on the veranda were studying him, not un- 
kindly, but with the aloofness of utter strangers. His 
mother formed no link between them and him. He saw 
Mrs. Chichester and went up to her, and as he went 
he knew that they had all seen that he limped, and his 
self-consciousness sent a wave of hot unjust resentment 
to his cheeks. Mrs. Chichester kissed him. The embrace 
would have surprised him had it come from any other 
woman, but Mrs. Chichester did things which no one else 
did, and her acquaintances had given up feeling aston- 
ished, as an exhausting practise. She was a small woman, 
gracefully built, with a pretty face which age had with- 
ered but not deprived of a mischievous monkey-like 
charm. Her bright wide-open eyes were rarely fixed on 
any particular object for long, but their expression could 
change to an alert attention which could be unpleasantly 
disconcerting, and the startling acrobatics displayed in 
her conversation were apt to leave her listeners in a state 
of breathless confusion. She dressed well, but in a way 
that suggested that her clothes suited her more by acci- 



82 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

dent than of intention, and had it been a degree less at- 
tractive her mop of wavy gray hair might have been 
called disorderly. David Hurst was fond of her — as 
fond of her as her erratic temperament allowed — ^and at 
the present moment her bold welcome acted as balsam 
on the young man's vanity. 

"Delighted, delighted, David," she said in her quick 
indistinct way. "I wasn't expecting you, you know. Of 
course, your mother told me you were coming, but I for- 
got the date. I always do forget dates — dates and faces 
and names, they always slip my memory. So awkward." 
There was a general laugh, in which her husband joined 
somewhat ruefully. It was an old story that Mrs. Chi- 
chester had once forgotten her own invitation to the in- 
specting general, and at the last moment had regaled 
that surprised officer with a repast of her own invention. 
They had got on excellently, in spite of an extemporary 
and original "curry", but the next day at polo she had 
absent-mindedly cut him and afterward apologized to the 
wrong man — details which reduced the prim and exact 
colonel to a state of speechless frenzy. The laugh at her 
expense left her unmoved. 

"You must tell me about Di," she went on. "She wrote 
to me that she had seen you, and I am so anxious to hear 
all about her. You know she is going to join us soon? 
And she has been having such a gay time — especially at 
your uncle's house, David. A delightful man — and his 
son, too. Isn't he in the army? Somebody told me he 
was. Why didn't you go into the army, David? Oh, no, of 
course not. How silly of me ! It was the civil service, or 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 83 

something, wasn't it? A vej-y good thing, I believe. You 
must tell me all about it/' 

Hurst glanced across to his mother. She was talking 
to the judge, but she was looking at him and he knew 
that she listened. He drew himself upright. 

"I failed — twice," he said. He need not have an- 
swered, for Mrs. Chichester was not listening. Ques- 
tions with her were only a means of leading on her own 
conversation, and answers were superfluous. 

"I'm so glad," she said vaguely. "So nice for you." 

"My dear little lady!" Colonel Chichester interposed, 
tugging nervously at his trim little mustache, but Mrs. 
Chichester's mind was already roving on far-off pastures, 
and she paid no attention to the customary protest. Da- 
vid Hurst stood forgotten at her side. She had not hurt 
him, but he had hurt himself, and he became suddenly 
aware that he was travel-stained and out of place among 
these gay well-dressed men and women. He went back to 
Mrs. Hurst's side. No one noticed him now. The slight 
excitement of his arrival had been swallowed up in the 
usual local gossip ; but his sense of loneliness had increased 
to an almost physical discomfort. 

"I think I'll go and change and make myself a little 
more respectable, mother," he said awkwardly, "Do you 
mind?" 

She turned and looked at him with a grave attention. 

"Of course not. You must be tired — I had meant to 
introduce you to Professor Heilig, but he appears to 
have wandered off, and another time will do. Dinner is 
at seven. I have asked the judge to stay." 



84 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"That's nice." The knowledge that he would not have 
to be alone with her on that first night relieved him, and 
he knew that it relieved her. "I'll go round to my 
room by the garden," he added. "I have a trifling head- 
ache, and the fresh air may take it away." 

"I hope so. Do as you like. You are not a little boy 
any more." 

Hurst went down the veranda steps. He had caught 
a glimpse of the judge's face, and the latter 's expression 
of mingled pain and pity had taken him back to the hour 
when he had first known that the mother he adored de- 
spised him. He went down the avenue to the gates of 
the compound. Evening was close at hand and long cool 
shadows stretched themselves across his path. Behind 
him he heard the murmur of voices and Mrs. Chichester's 
gay insouciant laughter, but all around him was the 
peculiar sleepy hush which heralds nightfall. On just 
such an evening he had set out on the great adventure 
of his life. It had ended in gray disillusionment, but it 
stood out in his memory with all the gorgeous coloring 
of an Eastern fairy tale, and now in this atmosphere of 
subdued mystery it came back to him still as a half- 
discredited legend of his childhood, but intensely, pain- 
fully beautiful. 

He lifted his face to the distant hills and recog- 
nized them. But there was pain also in that recog- 
nition. They had remained unchanged. Now, as then, 
they kept their solemn watch over the wide valley, shut- 
ting within their forest-grown walls the secrets of cen- 
turies; but he who came back to them_no longer an- 
swered to their appeal. The boy who had found God in 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 85 

the sunset had lost the power of worship in a world which 
called God its own. Something in him had hardened, 
frozen. The world around him was as the sound of 
music to a deaf musician. The vibrations of its beauty 
beat against his physical being, but he heard no sound, 
though his whole soul listened with the longing of star- 
vation. Yet at least he felt himself at peace. The hills 
no longer spoke to him, but their silence was majestic, 
contemplative, without contempt. To his embittered 
fancy they accepted him uncomplainingly as a part of 
the eternal unknown Mother in whom they still had 
their being; they asked no explanation, no excuse from 
him ; he belonged to them by all the ties of their common 
origin. Thus he reached the gates, and there paused, 
conscious for the first time that he was not alone. A man 
came toward him from out the shadows and stood quietly 
by his side, laying his fingers to his lips as though to 
command silence. 

"You must be quite quiet," he said in an imperative 
whisper. "Listen — and you will hear and see. They 
like it not when there are watchers. Do you not hear 
already ?" 

Hurst listened. In the far distance there was a faint 
throbbing sound like the regular beating of a drum and 
the high wail of a pipe. He glanced questioningly at his 
companion, but the latter seemed to have forgotten his 
existence. He had drawn back into the shadow of the 
gateway, and David could only perceive the short, some- 
what thick-set figure and the dim outline of a bearded 
face. But the stranger showed no inclination to talk, 
and David waited with the patient acquiescence of men- 



86 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

tal and physical weariness. The sounds had grown 
louder. Along the broad white road a myriad of danc- 
ing lights had sprung up in fantastic disorder and come 
toward the bungalow, rising and falling like fiery insects 
to the beat of the discordant music. As they approached, 
David saw that they were torches held by a crowd of 
half-naked natives who came on, now and again break- 
ing into a loud monotonous chant. In front, apparently 
leading them, a man marched alone. He walked quietly, 
with a grave composure which separated him from his 
noisier followers, and as he passed, his eyes set immov- 
ably in front of him, David caught a glimpse of a face 
startlingly familiar. Where he had first seen it, he did 
not know, but the clear-cut, even noble features belonged 
to his memories as surely as did the hills, the valley, the 
very torchlight; even their expression, somberly impas- 
sive, was known to him as something which had lain, 
temporarily forgotten, among his mind's pictures of the 
past. The man passed on, and gradually the throb of 
the drum died away in the distance, but David's eyes 
followed the dancing lights until the dusk swallowed 
them. He had half forgotten his unknown companion, 
and when he at last turned he was startled to find the 
broad shoulders almost touching his own. 

"You saw that man ?" the stranger asked eagerly. 

David nodded. 

"The leader?— yes." 

"A fine face, was it not? An interesting face — ^the 
face of a fallen Lucifer. Yes, I saw you thought as I 
do. That proved you are not a fool. But those — 
those — ^" He jerked his head toward the balcony with 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 87 

a ferocious contempt which found no words to express 
itself. "What do, think you, they know of such things? 
They laugh and they play their mad games, and the 
devil goes past with a lighted torch in one hand and a 
powder-cask under the other arm. Ha, do you laugh? 
I tell you that these half-clothed fanatics are as powder, 
and he who led them a devil. One day he will wave the 
torch, and then — ^then you will not laugh, my young 
friend.'* 

"I am not laughing," David said. His interest was 
ar6used, not only by the words, but by the face of the 
man beside him. In spite of the growing obscurity and 
the disguise of a heavy beard, David could still distin- 
guish the stranger's powerfully intellectual features, the 
high forehead, the aquiline nose, the eyes deep-set under 
overhanging brows. He was badly and even slovenly 
dressed in a duck suit of doubtful cut, but his bearing, 
at once aggressive and dignified, silenced criticism. Quite 
suddenly he threw open the gate. 

"I go," he said. "I haf wasted an afternoon, and that 
is enough* Greet me your mother, Mr. Hurst. Tell her 
that I haf seen her son and that he will do. He is not a 
fool. Good evening." 

"Wait!" David Hurst came out into the road beside 
him. 'TTou are Professor Heilig?" he asked. 

"I am, my young friend. And you, I take it, are my 
secretary to be." 

"Yes, but I don't know how you recognized me or 
what reason I should have given you to suppose that I 
will do. Hitherto I have proved myself useless in every 
profession, and, beyond a smattering of Hindustani, know 



88 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

I 

next to nothing. It is only right that you should under- ' 

stand that — ^at the beginning." ^ 

The German burst into a loud deep-chested laugh. 

"But, my young friend, your mother told me all I 
wanted to know. She was most explicit. When I heard 
that you had failed in your exams., I said in my heart, 
There is hope for that young man,' and when I heard 
that you played neither polo nor tennis, I said. There 
is more than hope,' and when I heard that you had seen 
what I believed only I had seen, and that they had 
laughed — ^why, then, I wrote to yoii. Dear God in 
Heaven! what do I want with clever men or sporting 
men ? I want a man with an immortal soul, who can see 
and feel below the surface over which these others go 
galloping in their thick-hided ignorance. Bah ! yes, they 
do their work, but it is not my work. I need none of 
them. Come to me to-morrow, and we shall begin. Good 
night." 

David Hurst walked quickly to his side. 

"You say there are things which only you and I have 
seen," he said. "What things ?" 

Heilig stopped and pointed one square finger to the 
hills. 

"You know," he said, and his voice vibrated. "You 
haf not forgotten. They laughed at you as fools laugh 
at the truth, but you knew, and you haf come back. 
Sarasvati — the daughter of the gods — ^you haf seen her 
as I haf never seen her — as child. And one day you 
shall see her as I know her — ^as woman. Then we will 
write books together on all we haf seen — of the hidden 
wonders of a great religion and a great people. And 



AFTER TWELVE YEARS 89 

then our friends over there will laugh and say that such 

^ things are no more in India. But we shall not heed them, 
for we are sufficient unto ourselves and need neither them 
nor their praise. What we haf seen is ours." 

He strode on, and Hurst let him go. The last words 

i rang in his ears like the proclamation of a new life, like 
an appeal to something in him which years before would 

^ have answered in passionate gratitude. "What we haf 
seen is ours." He knew that in that brief sentence lay 
a proud independence, the noble self-sufficiency of a char- 
acter freed from all the trammels of the world's judg- 
ment, but he was not free. What he had seen was not 

J his — ^not now. The world in which he struggled for his 

place had taken his greatest possession from him and 
thrown it back as an idle fancy, a faded unreality without 

: worth. 

I And he, too, had ceased to believe, and the treasure- 

house of his inner life stood deserted. 



CHAPTER II 

THE PROSELYTE 

MR. ELIOT led the way into the third class room of 
the missionary schoolhouse. It was a pleasant 
enough apartment^ but not particularly commodious^ and 
his visitors, who crowded in after him, had «ome difficulty 
in arranging themselves along the mud walls without 
treading on his scholars. The scholars, for their part, 
sat on their heels in nicely regulated rows and stared 
about them with the alert curiosity of so many monkeys. 
Their ages varied probably from seven to ten, and they 
were clad with marked attention to European ideas of 
decency, but the matter of their morning ceremony of 
purification was more doubtful, and Mrs. Chichester 
sniffed questioningly. 

"My youngest," Mr. Eliot said, with an introductory 
wave of the hand. "All baptized, my Lord.'* 

My lord the bishop adjusted his glasses. 

"Very nice — ^very admirable," he said benignly. "You 
have done wonders — I shall not forget to mention your 
work when I return home." He smiled at the rows of 
dark unsmiling faces and his glance passed on to the tall 
figure of a young man standing beside the teacher's table. 
"And this — ?" he inquired tentatively. Mr. Eliot's shiny 
features brightened with conscious triumph. 

"My right hand," he explained. "One of my first 

90 



THE PROSELYTE 91 

proselytes, my Lord, baptized into the faith as Rama 
Pal; has passed his examinations brilliantly in Calcutta, 
and is soon going to England to study for the law. A 
very encouraging case, my Lord." 

"Indeed, yes," my lord agreed. He drew nearer and 
nodded a kindly greeting. Rama Pal answered by a 
slight inclination of the head. He was dressed in Euro- 
pean clothes save for the white turban which set off in 
sharp relief the classic regularity of his features, and his 
slight erect figure seemed to tower above the bent old 
man before him. Like his pupils, his face was perfectly 
emotionless, and his dark eyes passed over the small 
crowd of inspecting visitors with a quiet unrecognizing 
indifference. The bishop coughed uncertainly. "Ah — 
judging from appearances, our young friend belongs to 
a higher caste than is usual among converts?" he sug- 
gested. 

" — Belonged, thank God !" Mr. Eliot interposed, throw- 
ing a glance at the unresponsive rows of native babies. 
"We have no caste distinctions here, my Lord. We are all 
brothers — " 

"H'm — ^yes, of course — ^belonged, I should have said. 
Nevertheless, I fancy my supposition is correct, is it not ? 
You see, I have some experience of the Hindu classes." 

He smiled, and the dark eyes sank to the level of his 
face. 

"I belong to no class — I have no caste." 

"But your family?" 

"I have no family." 

The answers were uttered in an emotionless monotone 
which did not encourage. Mr. Eliot came to the rescue. 



92 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Our friend has had rather a peculiar history, my 
Lord," he began with the eagerness of a man who has 
a story to tell. "When he first came into my hands he 
was scarcely thirteen years old, and entirely ignorant of 
his antecedents. I might mention that he was found in 
a pitiable condition by Mr. Hurst, who is at this moment 
present. Mr. Hurst, I wonder if you remember your 
whilom protege?" 

There was a general stir of awakened interest. Mrs. 
Chichester, who had been endeavoring to minimize her 
extreme boredom by distributing French chocolates 
among Mr. Eliot's spiritual offspring, looked mischiev- 
ously into David's face. 

"Now you know why you were asked," she observed 
sotto voce. "Go along and play up nicely, David." 

Hurst took involuntarily a step forward. Not Mr. 
Eliot's appeal, but the face of the young Hindu convert 
had called him out from among the little crowd of 
wearied visitors. 

"Yes, I remember very well," he said. He half 
stretched out his hand, then let it drop limply to his side. 
Rama Pal did not move, and his expression remained im- 
passively courteous. 

"Very interesting — quite a romance," murmured the 
bishop. "An incident of that kind should bring the races 
closer." He repeated his benign smile and passed out 
of the room, Mr. Eliot and the escort at his heels. David 
Hurst lingered. The infantile converts fidgeted restlessly, 
but the two young men studied each other in silence, com- 
paring, possibly remembering. 



THE PROSELYTE 93 

"I am glad to have met you," Hurst said ajt last. "I 
have wanted to see you all these years." 

"The Lord Sahib honors me. I do not deserve remem- 
brance." 

Hurst sought in the dark and handsome features for 
the sarcasm which had seemed to glimmer through the 
veil of oriental humility, but Rama Pal made no sign. 
His bearing was irreproachable — at once respectful and 
dignified. 

"Of us two it is perhaps I who least deserve to be re- 
membered," David returned impulsively. "You have 
done wonders — so Mr. Eliot tells me — ^and I have done 
nothing." 

"Yet I owe the Lord Sahib everything — life and all the 
benefits of the Christian faith. May I one day prove my 
gratitude !" 

He bowed his head, but this time Hurst thought he 
had caught a flicker of light in the unfathomable eyes, 
and he half turned away, baffled and disconcerted. 

"I did not want you to be grateful," he said. "It was 
not for that I wished to see you. I have always thought 
of you as a kind of comrade. We went through danger 
together — danger which no one else believes in. It 
seemed to me a kind of link. But perhaps the idea was 
all part of my imagination." 

"The bond between the Lord Sahib and his servant is 
forged in memory," was the suave answer. 

Hurst said no more. The steady gaze, the unsmiling 
face silenced him. He nodded curtly, hiding behind a 
sudden arrogance the bitterness of his disappointment. 



94 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

and went out into the street, where an ear-splitting out- 
burst of shrieks, clashing of cymbals and wailing wind- 
instruments had broken in upon the afternoon peace. The 
cause of the disturbance proved to be a religious pro- 
cession composed chiefly of half-clothed Sudras who 
came down the narrow street at a fast trot, whirling up 
clouds of stifling dust and driving the little English party 
back against the walls of the mission house like straws 
before a torrent. A hideous battered-looking idol swayed 
precariously on the shoulders of four of the more sober 
members, but not even its ludicrous ugliness or the 
clamor of its worshipers could detract entirely from the 
magic of the scene. It was all part of the surroundings, 
a living expression of the brilliant coloring, the combined 
picturesque loveliness and filth which characterized the 
haphazard native street. 

When the procession had passed, Mr. Eliot shook him- 
self like a dog which has come out of a muddy pool. 

"A festival of the new moon,'' he explained in a tone 
of apology and disapproval. "It is terrible that these 
things can still be. In such moments a Christian is al- 
most overcome with discouragement." 

"We must be patient and thankful that it has been 
granted us to help these our brethren as much as we have 
done," the bishop returned gravely. "We can not hope 
to attain everything in a day." 

Mrs. Chichester, who had overheard part of the con- 
versation and, according to her custom, turned it upside 
down and fitted it into her own particular train of 
thought, nodded delightedly: 

"But it's so nice for you that you should have caught 



THE PROSELYTE 95 

a glimpse of 'real India'," she said in her bright way. 
"The natives are getting so horrid and civilized that I 
get quite bored with them, I love processions, don't 
you?" 

The bishop smiled good-naturedly. 

"I'm afraid I look at them too much from my point of 
view," he ventured. 

"Do you ? Oh, yes, I see, of course ! But you know 
you could pick up a lot of hints from them. Now, Mr. 
Eliot, if you went round making a noise like that you'd 
get on much faster. What these people like is lots of 
hocus-pocus and all that sort of thing — " 

"My dear little lady — " Colonel Chichester broke in 
hurriedly. 

"Don't interrupt, dear. I want the bishop to look at 
that dear Brahman priest going into the house opposite. 
Isn't he fine-looking? — 3. regular old aristocrat. I love 
them all — so mysterious, you know. And they look hor- 
ribly wise, don't you think?" 

The bishop fortunately did not fall into the error of 
supposing that Mrs. Chichester really cared what he 
thought. His smile was still indulgent, but his eyes had 
already caught sight of a fresh object of interest. The 
street was now very quiet. Such natives as had come 
out to witness the passing of the procession had crept 
back into the shade of their dirty dwellings, and the man 
who at this moment came slowly toward the mission house 
stood out like the central figure in some brilliant oriental 
picture. 

A remarkable-looking person," the bishop murmured. 
A medieval saint," added Mrs. Chichester with her 






96 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

quick enthusiasm. Mr. Eliot threw back his heavy shoul- 
ders. 

"Father Romney — of the Roman Mission," he ex- 
plained, and his tone was ponderous with reproof. But 
Mrs. Chichester appeared unscathed, and a curious, some- 
what uncomfortable silence fell on the little group of 
watchers. The priest drew nearer. He carried himself 
with a simple dignity as though unconscious of hostility 
or suspicion, and the face which he lifted for a moment 
seemed to justify Mrs. Chichester's impulsive criticism. 
It was the face of a dreamer and an idealist. Mrs. Chi- 
chester had seen it before, no doubt, in the reproductions 
of an old master — where the Infant Christ receives the 
worship of the saints — and had recognized with her 
quick intuition the qualities which linked the painter's 
ideal to this living man. He was very bronzed and very 
emaciated. The brown clear skin seemed scarcely to 
cover the sharply-cut features, and the eyes, deep-set and 
penetrating, added to his appearance of extraordinary 
delicacy. But against this physical weakness there was 
the indomitable strength of mind written on the straight- 
cut mouth, the powerful jaw, the high intellectual fore- 
head. It was clear that daily, hourly, body and soul 
fought for the predominance, and that the soul had never 
yielded nor lost, in the desperate struggle, her tenderness 
and humanity. Father Romney was dressed in the plain 
white cassock of his order; a silver crucifix hung sus- 
pended from his girdle, and as he approached the little 
group by the mission house his lean brown fingers felt 
for it and held it in a nervous clasp. 



\ 



THE PROSELYTE 97 

"I beg your pardon for troubling you," he said quietly, 
with a courteous inclination of the head. "But I have 
a letter for Mr. Hurst which I should be glad to de- 
liver. I understand that he is here." 

David advanced quickly. Everything in the atmos- 
phere — a subdued wordless antagonism — ^had driven the 
blood into his sallow cheeks. He held out his hand and 
it was taken and held in a moment's friendly pressure. 

"I am glad I have found you," the priest added. "The 
professor was anxious that you should get his message 
before nightfall. I fancy he has made one of his dis- 
coveries and wishes to share it with you. Here is the 
letter." 

Hurst took the neatly-addressed envelope. 

"Have you come all this way in this heat for me ?" he 
asked regretfully. 

"I did not notice that it was so hot," the priest an- 
swered, smiling, "and the way never seems tedious. Be- 
sides, I have other things to do, and must not linger. I 
hope to see you again." He bowed again, including the 
silent group in his salutation, and passed quietly on his 
way. Only Colonel Chichester and his wife had re- 
sponded. The bishop was ostentatiously engaged in the 
study of the architectural beauties of the mission house. 
Mr. Eliot, his face unusually heated, stared stonily across 
the street. It was evident that of the two the passing of 
the heathen procession had caused him the least discom- 
fort. 

"I think now, if your lordship is willing, we can pro- 
ceed homeward," he said stiffly. 



98 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

His lordship, awaking from his preoccupation, signi- 
fied his assent, and the carriages were called up. Mr. 
Eliot took his place at the side of his spiritual superior. 

"We have much to contend with," he said, sighing. 

Meanwhile, Hurst had helped Mrs. Chichester into her 
dog-cart. That lady had forgotten her boredom in the 
delighted consciousness that there had been trouble in 
the air, and her eyes twinkled mischievously. 

"I didn't know you were so intimate with that dear 
Father," she said. "I suppose you are not 'going over', 
are you, David? That's the right expression, I believe. 
Now, I come to think of it, I haven't seen you in churcK 
since you've been back. It looks suspicious, doesn't it?" 

"I suppose so. But I'm afraid I shan't afford you any 
excitement by 'going over'. I'm what is called an ag- 
nostic." 

Mrs. Chichester put up her parasol. 

"It sounds like a nasty new-fashioned illness," she said 
cheerfully. 

"Perhaps it is — ^an incurable one." 

"Well, never mind — so long as it only keeps you out 
of church I don't think it's unbearable. Get in, David. 
I'm going to drive you home." 

"Thanks, but I have my own cart here and I have to 
pick up my mother at the club." 

"We shall see you to-night, then? Di is panting to 
meet her old playfellow. She says you neglected her dis- 
gracefully in England." 

Hurst turned his face away from the scrutiny of the 
restless blue eyes. 



THE PROSELYTE 99 






1 was hard pressed with work," he explained lamely. 

Well, you must come and apologize, anyhow, Dun- 
can, dear, please drive on. Good-by, David, till this 
evening !" 

Five minutes later the last carriage had passed out of 
the native quarter. The white figure of the priest had 
tong since vanished into the afternoon haze, and a drowsy 
peace sank like a veil over the narrow street. Only 
Rama Pal remained. Throughout the proceedings he 
had kept his silent watch by the door of the mission 
house, his face inscrutable, his eyes passing from one 
figure to another with a passive disinterestedness. No 
one had noticed him. In the general leave-taking he had 
been ignored and no change in his set features betrayed 
resentment or mortification. The infant converts had 
scrambled past him, grateful for release, and he had not 
seemed to see them. He stood there motionless and ap- 
parently indifferent. Presently he lifted his head. The 
Brahman priest had come out from the house opposite 
and now slowly crossed the street, stopping midway as 
though an invisible barrier barred his passage. For a 
moment the two men considered each other in silence. 
The Brahman had thrown the end of his yellow mantle 
over his shoulder and with folded arms stood and waited 
in an attitude of unassumed dignity. He was a tall man, 
well past the prime of life, peculiarly fair of skin, with 
handsome and haughty features, and eyes of that pierc- 
ing gray which can be as oriental as the darkest brown. 
The three vertical lines across the high and even noble 
forehead proclaimed the purity of his caste, and when 



1.5748yB 



loo THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

he at last spoke it was with the arrogance of immeas- 
urable superiority. 

"Though thou art an outcaste from among thy peo- 
ple I would speak with thee," he said. "But keep thy 
place, for thy shadow defileth." 

The convert bowed his head with a languid acquies- 
cence. 

"Speak !" he said. 

"Thou hast forsaken the gods of thy fathers to follow 
this English Christ," the Brahman went on. "Tell me a 
little of thy new faith. I have heard that His disciples 
preach joy and universal love and brotherhood. Yet 
thine eyes are heavy as death and thy friends left thee 
without farewell — ^not as brothers leave their brother. 
And I have seen strange things — Christian against 
Christian, though they call the same Lord master. What 
love and brotherhood is this ?" 

"A lie," came the swift answer. 

The Brahman was silent for a moment, his finger 
placed musingly to his forehead. 

"And for this lie thou forsakest thy race and foUowest 
a two-faced God ?" he asked. 

"I have no God." The convert threw up his arms 
with a startling vehemence. "They took my gods from 
me — ^they took me from my people. They gave me a 
faith which their lives belie and a brotherhood of bitterest 
humiliation. They made me an outcaste — without people 
and without God." He pulled himself up with a con- 
vulsive effort. "What is that to thee?" he demanded sul- 
lenly. "Thou wearest the Triple Cord — ^my shadow de- 
files thee." 



THE PROSELYTE loi 

The Brahman's face lit with a swift cunning. 

"Once was thy shadow pure," he said. "Once was the 
mark of Vishnu on thy brows — ^the privilege of the 
highest thine. All was stolen from thee even as thou 
wert stolen — ^by those whose crust thou eatest. Is the 
strong blood in thy veins stagnant that no thought of. re- 
venge lights thy thoughts? Great wrong has been done 
thee — only a Pariah bears in patience eternally." 

"I am a Pariah," was the answer; "godless and hope- 
less." 

The Brahman's eyes narrowed. 

"The way back to Brahma is long and arduous," he 
said significantly, "but the way is there. Thou sayest 
thy old gods are dead. Nay, but there is but one God, 
the Almighty, all-pervading, all-containing One ; thy God 
and mine is there" — ^he stretched out his arm toward the 
horizon— "and here." He laid his hand upon his own 
breast. 

"Yet at morning and at evening thou bringest sweet 
offerings to thy wooden idols," Rama Pal returned sneer- 
ingly. "Is that, too, a lie ?" 

"A lie even as life itself is a lie, a delusion, a vision. 
It is for the people who struggle on through countless 
generations toward the truth. They make themselves 
idols out of their desires and until desire dies their idols 
must live and we must serve them. But the truth is 
ours." He drew himself up to his full height. "Not 
Vishnu nor Siva nor thy Christ is God, but God is all of 
them and us." 

The convert smiled satirically, but the fire of some ris- 
ing passion smoldered* in his eyes. 



/ 



I02 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Thou art a priest of Vishnu, and speakest to a Pa- 
riah," he said in a low voice. "What am I to thee ?" 

The Brahman appeared not to hear him. His gaze was 
fixed straight ahead as though on some fearful vision. 

"They shot our fathers from the cannon's mouth," he 
said under his breath. "They tore from us the power 
and the wealth that was ours by heritage and right of 
conquest. They forced upon us their faith that we might 
serve them by their slave's code. They call us friends, and 
spit upon us. Their women shrink from us as from ver- 
min." His eyes flashed back to the convert's livid face. 
"Whom dost thou hate?" he demanded fiercely. ^ 

"They who have robbed me of my heritage — India of 
her glory," came the suffocated answer. 

"What is thy destiny?" 

"I know not.*' 

The priest stretched out his arm with prophetic ve- 
hemence. "India has need of thee and of all such as thou 
art," he said. "Thou art her new-born son. Thou shalt 
go to England. Thou shalt suck this new wisdom from 
her as a bee drinks honey from the flower. Then return 
— ^help our mother to throw off her dishonoring shackles." 

"Alone?" Rama Pal interrupted bitterly. 

"We who have led the people through ages untold shall 
stand between thy wisdom and unbelief and their igno- 
rance and faith. For a little while longer we shall call 
them together by the names of the gods thou hast for- 
gotten. For a little while thou, too, shalt believe." 

"In whom?" 

The Brahman hesitated. Then the old cunning re- 
placed the moment's blaze of enthusiasm. 



^ THE PROSELYTE 103 

"A new and living goddess has arisen," he said. "Sa- 
rasvati— daughter of Brahma. To-night thou shalt see 
her — ^in the Temple to the Unknown." 

"And worship?" 

" — ^With the countless thousands throughout India who 
shall answer one day to her call." 

The two men looked each other full in the eyes. 

"And that call will come—?" 

**When India's sons are ready." 

"And shall I worship a lie?" 

"No lie, but a symbol. Let her be to you as the mother 
thou art destined to rescue." He pointed to the horizon. 
"Across the sea, whither thou goest, thou wilt find others 
such as thou. Steadily, silently they work beneath the 
surface, fearing neither death nor sacrifice. In them 
shalt thou find thy true brotherhood. With them thou 
shalt regain thy birthright." 

Rama Pal took an involuntary step forward. 

"Who art thou ?" he demanded. "Who am I ?" 

The Brahman held up a warning hand. 

"Approach me not, for still is thy shadow unclean. 
One day thou shalt know my name and thine, and why 
I have called upon thee. Until then, work and nourish 
the hatred in thy heart ! The great hour is not far off." 

He turned to go. A dirty-looking yogi, seated in the 
full blaze of the sun, held out a greedy hand, but the 
priest passed on his way, majestically indifferent. 

Rama Pal had drawn back into the shade of the »ission 
house, and a hush fell upon the native village. And pres- 
ently, apparently wearied of his unprofitable penance, the 
yogi rose and limped away toward Kolruna. 



CHAPTER III 

FATE DECIDES 

DAVID HURST sat at his writing-table and turned 
over the heap of manuscript before him. Now 
and again he made some slight correction in the carefully 
ruled margin, but it was a mechanical work and his eyes 
were more often raised to the figure seated in the chair 
beneath the lamp. The soft turning of the leaves cov- 
ered over his inattention, and Mrs. Hurst went on read- 
ing, apparently unconscious that she was being watched. 
She read intently, with the absorption of a mind capable 
of absolute concentration, and the ponderous-looking 
book on her knee contrasted curiously with the exquisite 
delicacy of her dress and with the white jeweled hands 
which held the yellow volume covers apart. Presently, 
having reached the end of a chapter, she closed the book 
and sat with her head thrown back against her chair, her 
eyes lifted thoughtfully to the light. It was as though her 
beauty defied the closest scrutiny, and, indeed, the years 
had brought no change to her. There were no lines about 
the straight-cut mouth nor across the serene forehead. 
There was no trace of weariness in the proud carriage of 
her shoulders, and, above all, no softening. 

"Are you not coming to-night, David ?" she asked sud- 
denly, but without moving. "Diana will be disappointed, 
and Mrs. Chichester made sure of you.'* 

104 



FATE DECIDES 105 

His eyes sank to the closely-written pages. 

"I don't think I should be of much good, mother," he 
answered. "I should only be in the way." He gave a lit- 
tle awkward laugh. "You know, I can't dance any more 
than Milton's prehistoric elephant, and nature did not 
intend me to ornament — even a wall." 

"I know you do not care for that sort of entertain- 
ment," she returned courteously. "I suppose you will 
spend your evening with the professor ?" 

"Yes — unless I can be of any use elsewhere. Might I 
fetch you ?" 

There was a faint timid eagerness in his tone. She 
shook her head. 

"No, thank you. It's not necessary. The judge has 
promised to look after me right to the bitter end." She 
was silent a moment, playing with an emerald ring upon 
her finger. "Do you like your work ?" she asked with the 
same polite interest. 

"Yes; Professor Heilig is an unusually clever man — 
and even if he wasn't, it would be enough for me to know 
that I am being of some assistance. It's a new sensation." 
He bent over the manuscript and there was another 
silence, broken at last by the rattle of carriage-wheels 
over the loose gravel. Mrs. Hurst rose to her feet. 

"That's the judge, at last," she said, drawing on the 
rich purple mantle which had been hung in readiness. 
"Good night, David. Don't let the professor get you 
mixed up in any of his dangerous experiments. And 
don't wait up for me. I shall be late." 

She came across the room as though to pass out of the 
open window, and then hesitated at his side. "Poor 



io6 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

David!" she said half to herself. He lcx)ked up; the 
nearness of her presence seemed to stupify him, the 
softer intonation in her voice to shatter sometliing of his 
self-restraint. With a movement that was as sudden as it 
was violent, he caught the hand resting upon the table 
and kissed it repeatedly, almost savagely. 

"David !" 

The hand was withdrawn — ^so sharply that his mouth 
struck against the corner of the table. Her exclamation 
brought him to himself. He sank back in his chair, blood 
on his lips, his face whiter than hers, his eyes somber 
with an expiring passion. 

"Mother — ?" he said under his breath. 

She recovered herself instantly. The expression of ir- 
ritation and disgust faded, though something in her bear- 
ing betrayed the vibrations of the storm. 

"I am sorry, David," she said, "very sorry. You took 
me by surprise. I hope I did not hurt you ?" 

He felt that she was apologizing more to herself than 
to him. He buried his face in his shaking hands. 

"Don't ! It was my fault. I forgot. You looked very 
beautiful — I lost control of myself. Beautiful things 
overwhelm me sometimes, somehow — I suppose because I 
am such a confounded ugly brute myself. Don't mind it 
— and forget it." 

She did not answer. He heard the soft rustle of her 
dress as she drew away from him and passed out of the 
window. He got up and crept cautiously after her, hiding 
in the shadow of the curtains. He saw the yellow lights 
of the judge's carriage, the white-clad syce at the horse's 



FATE DECIDES 107 

head ; fie saw his mother with Ker back toward him, and 
he saw the judge's face, flooded with the light from the 
window. He heard the half-smothered exclamation and 
understood it. 

"I believe you are trying to cut out all the unhappy 
debutantes," the judge said gaily. *'How do you think 
I'm to find all my protegees partners, with the subalterns 
swarming around you like so many moths ?" 

"Is that a compliment?" she retorted. "If it is, it's the 
first one you have ever paid me." 

"You ought to be thankful. Let me help you in. 
Isn't David coming?" 

"No." 

"Poor chap, it would do him good. Are you comfort- 
able?" 

"Very," 

"That's all right. Josephus, givfe the savage brute her 
head, will you ?" 

The "savage brute," from her gait, a direct descendant 
of the tong-deceased Sarah Jane — ^broke into a weary trot, 
and a minute later the lights of the buggy passed through 
the compound gates and disappeared. Hurst limped back 
to the table. He tried to resume his work, but his head 
ached and a self-loathing that was physical in its inten- 
sity lamed his faculties. It is not enough that nature 
had stamped him "outcast" — ^he had added to his own dis- 
grace. He had thrust himself upon a being who he knew 
despised him, he had flung aside dignity and self-repres- 
sion — ^the poor garments with which he had sought td 
cover his infirmities — ^and had revealed himself as a 



io8 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

cringing whining beggar, importunate and shameless. 
And he had gained nothing save a sense of nausea, of 
utter humiliation. 

He got up again and flung his manuscript carelessly into 
the drawer. It was of no use to fight against his unrest, 
and in an hour the professor awaited him. "If you would 
see your boyhood's dream again, I will show you her be- 
fore daybreak," he had written. Hurst smiled at the 
recollection of the curt promise. It is as easy to recall 
the dead as to recall a dream or an ideal, he thought. 
Nevertheless, he took his helmet from the table and went 
out into the compound and down the avenue to the road. 
Professor Heilig's bungalow lay on the other side of 
Kolruna, at a good half-hour's walk, and Hurst set off as 
briskly as his dragging uneven gait allowed. The dark- 
ness, the complete silence, the rapid movement through 
the soft air calmed him. Shame and bitterness, though 
they still gnawed at his heart's roots, lost something of 
their violence. Nature slept in mysterious quiet about 
him. He had divorced her from his life, had stifled the 
sound of her voice in his desperate futile struggle for the 
world's approbation, but in this hour of humiliation she 
strove to reclaim him. He lifted his face to the brilliant 
sky, where already the new moon rose in the stately splen- 
dor of rebirth, and forgot for an instant his bitterness in 
the contemplation of the eternity which encompassed him. 
It was only for an instant, then a wailing cry recalled 
him to earth and to himself. Involuntarily he stopped 
and looked about him. A shadow rose up from the ditch at 
the side of the road and came crawling through the moon- 
light stretching out thin arms of supplication. He tried 



FATE DECIDES 109 

to pass, but claw-like hands gripped his knees ; a face of 
torture lifted itself to his. 

"Have mercy. Sahib, have mercy, and I will pray to 
God that ere dawn break He shall give thee thy heart's 
desire !" 

Hurst dropped a coin into the extended palm. 

"My heart's desire?" he echoed ironically. "Who is 
thy God that He should read my heart ?" 

"Is not the desire of man forever the same?" came the 
quick answer. "Fame and the love of woman." 

Hurst freed himself from the detaining hands and 
passed on, his lips compressed, his face crimson with a 
sudden rush of blood. He cursed himself savagely and 
bitterly, but he knew that something in him had answered 
the yogi's sententious wisdom. "Fame and the love of 
woman!" Unattainable desires — scarcely recognized, hid- 
eously ludicrous in the light of his utter failure! And yet, 
superstition, sudden-born, ran riot in his veins. 

He reached the outskirts of Kolruna and limped 
through the deserted streets. Their emptiness left no im- 
pression on his mind. But presently he heard the sound 
of music, and stopped short, caught in the web of awak- 
ened longing. He stood at the gates of the Chichesters* 
bungalow, and the music that had reached his ears was 
English music, sensuous and melodious. It came to him 
in broken waves, lending a vague enchantment to the 
scene before him, to the silence and darkness which lay 
behind. Lights glittered between the stems of the tall 
palm-trees. He could see the shadows of moving figures, 
and once he heard the sound of laughter. He passed 
through the open gates. He had ceased to reason with 



no THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

himself. Life, warm and pulsating, called to him and fie 
answered, forgetful of ever3rthing but his own youth, his 
own powers of living. 

But unbridgeable gulfs separate life from life, and 
as he reached the steps of the low veranda he re- 
membered them and hid himself in the shadows. 
The curtains across the wide windows had been 
drawn aside, and the dancing couples swept past his range 
of vision like puppets in some gorgeous show in which he 
played no part Gay uniforms, lovely dresses, bronzed 
faces, familiar and hated with all the bitterness of envy 
— ^and last of all a woman's face, a profile, clean-cut 
against the brilliant background. He knew then why he 
had come. But she was more beautiful than he had re- 
membered her — or perhaps his riper judgment saw in her 
features that which his boy's eyes had missed — character 
and strength. 

She stood by the window, her hand resting lightly 
on her partner's arm, and once she looked up at him 
and smiled. Hurst knew the man, and hated him as 
he hated the rest in that moment, but with a hatred 
more intense because it had been sown in the bitterest 
hours of his childhood. The good-looking intelligent 
face, the manly figure, represented for him all that he 
could never be, reminded him of petty humiliations, si- 
lently accepted, but unforgotten. A trifling incident of 
his boyhood — a race between Diana, this Dick Hatherway 
and himself — flashed back to his remembrance as some- 
thing cruelly typical. He had meant to win — ^he had 
strained his feeble strength till a red veil had crept be- 
fore his eyes — but he had not won. He had stumbled 






FATE DECIDES iii 

yards before the winning-post, and when they had come 
back, breathless and eager, they had laughed at him — ^not 
unkindly, but as at something made for their laughter. 
The sound rang in his ears now, and he turned away, the 
brief moment of exhilaration dead. But it was too late. 
Diana Chichester had stepped out on to the veranda. The 
light was on his face, and she recognized him with a quick 
delighted exclamation. Hatherway, who had followed 
her, peered curiously over her shoulder. 

"Why, Hurst !" he said. "What on earth are you skulk- 
ing there for ? Come in, man, and behave like a civilized 
being. You're enough to frighten the weak-minded into 
fits." 

Hurst returned reluctantly. The loud cheerful voice 
grated on his nerves, the words, good-naturedly banter- 
ing though they were, told him that he stood before them 
once again as the self -revealed fool. 

"I am sorry if I startled you," he said. "I was on my 
way to the professor, and wanted to see how you were all 
getting on. I had no intention of being discovered." 

Diana Chichester considered him, gravely observant. 

"It seems to me you are apologizing the wrong way 
round," she said. "You are trying to explain your pres- 
ence, whereas you ought to be explaining your absence." 

"I was not made for these social functions," he re- 
turned bluntly. 

Still, for my sake you might have gone against your 
nature, and now that you are here you must remain. 



"bull, xur my scikc yuu uiigiit iicivc guiic agciuisi 

n," 

"In these clothes ? I should cause a sensation." 
"Probably. Do you mind ?" 



He laughed grimly. 



IT 



112 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



"I am modest, and I should prefer not to see my 
mother's face. She is not fond of that kind of notoriety." 

Diana came down the steps of the veranda. 

"It's the case of Mohammed and the mountain," she 
said "Dicky, go and find another partner. You can come 
back in half an hour, if you like. Fm going to talk to 
David." 

"Is that fair ?" Hatherway protested. "Besides, people 
will be asking for you." 

"You can tell them I am in the garden, talking to Mr. 
Hurst. You can add that I do not want to be disturbed." 

Hatherway's face expressed a ludicrous mixture of dis- 
appointment and boyish mischief. 

"Won't the old reputation-snatchers rejoice!" he said, 
chuckling. "Di, I ought to warn you that your conduct 
is likely to give Kolruna food for nine days' most deli- 
cious scandal-mongering — Kolruna, that hasn't had a 
scandal for a fortnight." 

"Then I shall be doing Kolruna a service," she retorted. 
Please do as I ask, Dick." 
Of course." He leant over the veranda and tapped 
David Hurst on the shoulder. "Next time I want half- 
an-hour's talk with any one, I shall try your dodge, 
Hurst," he said, with laughing significance. 

He disappeared into the crowded room, and Diana 
Chichester, moving serenely through the bright patch of 
reflected light, seated herself on the bench beneath the 
high palm-trees. The shadows hid her, and Hurst did not 
attempt to penetrate their protection. He sat beside her, 
his elbows on his knees, his hands linked loosely before 
him, striving to quiet the painful beating of his temples. 



it 



FATE DECIDES 113 

She did not speak to him, and it seemed to him that the 
silence around them was a part of himself, a throbbing 
living thing, mysterious, intangible. The music had died 
away into the far distance. He no longer heard it, nor 
realized that only a few yards separated him from the 
overflowing life in which he had no share. For him the 
world had dwindled to this quiet Indian garden, his whole 
life to this moment of illusionary happiness. Presently 
she bent forward as though to look into his face. 

"Well?'' she said gently. 

He did not answer. Her voice belonged to his dream, 
but he knew that when he spoke the dream would be shat- 
tered, and he clung to it with an unavailing tenacity. 

"Well r she repeated. 

He started, realizing the ludicrousness of it all, and 
drew himself up. 

"I beg your pardon — it was stupid of me — I think there 
is magic in the air." 

"And I have dispelled it? But I have so much to ask 
you, and our time is short. Do you realize that we have 
not seen each other for two years ?" 

"Two years to-night," he answered. 

"Do you remember so well?" 

"It was at Hurst Court," he added. 

She nodded thoughtfully. 

"You sat and talked to me for the whole evening, and 
the next morning you went away without even saying 
good-by. Do you know, David, I have always felt that 
that incident wanted explaining. I have waited two 
years for the explanation, and I think I have a right to 
it now." 



114 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMiS 

"It's a very simple one/* He turned a little so tfiat 
she saw the dim outline of his face. "On that evening I 
made up my mind to have another try at the Indian civil. 
I hadn't meant to — ^it was almost a disgrace even to think 
of it at my age — ^but I had to do something after I had 
been with you." 

"Then you were working all those two years ?" 

He nodded, his lips drawn into a straight line. 

"Yes — for eighteen months I put everything else out of 
my life." 

"And—?" 

"I failed." 

He looked at her with a directness that was almost 
brutal. But even though half-darkness hid her. expres- 
sion, he knew that she had not flinched. 

"It was inevitable," she said quietly. 

"You mean — ^because I am a fool?" 

"Perhaps because you were not made for the life of a 
bureaucrat — at any rate because you were too heavily 
handicapped." 

"By what?" 

"By things beyond your control. I remember even out 
here in Kolruna you were too delicate to work, and in 
England you were often ill. If you failed, it was not your 
fault. You were physically out of the running." 

"Yes, but that was my fault — not in the ordinary sense, 
but in a true sense, nevertheless. Don't you see that to 
be a physical weakling is just as bad as being a fool or 
a good-for-nothing? You can call it bad luck, or fate, 
or the will of God, if you like, but it comes to the same 
thing in the end. If you make a man responsible for his 



FATE DECIDES 115 

vices or for his talents, you must hold him equally respon- 
sible for his deformities." 

"That sounds like one of Mrs. Hurst's theories," she 
observed. 

"Yes, it is. My mother is quite clear on that point, and 
after the first shock I learned to agree with her. She dis- 
likes me as she would dislike me if I had turned out a 
reprobate, and with the same right. And at the bottom 
most people feel the same, though it isn't Christian to ad- 
mit it." Suddenly he rose to his feet, and stood looking 
down at her, and she felt that he was trembling. "Di, I 
want you to think it out for yourself — ^then you'll see that 
what I have said is true. Look at me ; I am lame, I can't 
do any of the physical things people — English people — 
admire. And I'm not clever. I've failed all round. I'm 
not good to look at. Di, you wouldn't marry me, would 
you?" 

"No," she answered directly. 

"You despise me — as my mother despises me?" 

"No — in my own particular way, as I despise hundreds 
of very admirable people." 

He set his teeth hard. The drumming in his ears had 
ceased. He heard the music again, and it sounded loud, 
and blatant, and trivial. Suddenly she put her hand on 
his arm. 

"David, that sounded horrid — ^worse than I meant it 
I have a nasty, arrogant, exacting character, and I've 
shown you a little bit of it — ^perhaps on purpose. I didn't 
want you to spoil things — for either of us. Have I hurt 
you very much ?" 

He shook his head. 



ii6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"You have paid me the compliment of being honorably- 
frank," he said. "It has done me good. And yiou needn't 
be afraid — I shan't spoil things. I won't pretend. If I 
had been another man — ^yes, perhaps then — ^but I'm not, 
and there the matter ends." His tone was calm, eminently 
practical, and he changed the subject without fipparent 
effort. "Are you glad to be back, Di ?" he asked. 

"Yes." Even in the monosyllable he heard a new note 
of warmth, almost of passion. "I have always wanted to 
come back," she went on. "It was as though the East 
called to me, and never ceased to call, though I tried to 
stifle its voice in a wild round of English pleasure. That 
was why I was so glad to see you to-night — somehow you 
belong to all these old memories — ^these old memories 
which always seem to be so full of sunshine and bright 
warm colors."- 

"Yes, I know," he said. "It is a world of dreams." 

She seemed scarcely to hear him. She was leaning for- 
ward with her elbow on her knee, her chin supported in 
the palm of her hand, and he could see that she was smil- 
ing dreamily. 

"One thing stands out in my mind," she went on. "Do 
you remember the night when you got lost, and all the 
wonderful tales you told about the temple and the Hindu 
baby girl and the human sacrifices ? I shall never forget 
how you stood there and stammered, and how Mr. Eliot 
stared at you with his little pig eyes. I don't know why 
— I was half inclined to believe it all. It appealed some- 
how to my child's imagination. And to-night— out here 
—it seems so possible — so real." 



FATE DECIDES 117 

He was silent He did not look at Her any more. His 
e^es were fixed sightlessly ahead into the darkness. 

"Won't you tell me what really happened?" she asked 
suddenly. "What made you think of such strange things, 
David ? Were they all fancy ?" 

He lifted his head as though he were listening to 
something beyond her voice and beyond the music. 

"I don't think I could tell you," he said. "It lies so far 
tack — ^twelve years back — ^it has gone out of my life — '* 
His voice died away ; he seemed to have forgotten that he 
had been speaking. 

"You called her Sarasvati, daughter of Brahma," she 
went on. "It was a strange name to have sprung from a 
boy's brain. Had any one talked to you about her ?" 

"No — ^I found her put all by myself, in a dream." 

He was smiling now, and all the hard tense lines in his 
face had vanished, leaving a haggard pathetic youthful- 
ness. But the darkness hid the change from her. "Yes, 
it was a dream," he went on, half to himself, "but I'm 
beginning to think it was the only beautiful thing in my 
life. I had forgotten it — in these twelve years — ^but it has 
come back to me a little — '* 

He stopped again. He had Heard footsteps, and sud- 
denly he bent over her and took her hand. "Hatherway 
is coming," he said quickly. "I don't want to meet him 
again — ^not to-night. You understand, don't you?" 

"Yes, of course. But we shall see you again soon?" 

"Yes. Good-by — and thank you." 

He slipped into the shadow. He heard Hatherway's 
voice and her answer, and at the gate he looked back and 



ii8 iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

saw her wfiite nobly-proportioned figure pass, phantom- 
like, through the shadows into the light He saw Hather- 
way at her side, and suddenly he clenched his fists, grind- 
ing his teeth in a storm of fruitless passion. 

Outside on the highroad a few Sudras had gathered 
together in an idle group, watching and listening. For 
the most part they were dressed in the costume prescribed 
by Mr. Eliot as Christian, but a woman, scarlet-clothed 
and hung with tawdry ornaments, came out from their 
midst and touched Hurst on the arm. 

"Lord Sahib come to the bazaar," she said hoarsely. 
"Much f im for Sahib — Sahib come ?" 

He looked down into her face. A torch, held by one 
of her companions, lit up the evil, yet piteous features, 
and threw flickering points of fire into her upturned eyes. 
He stared back at her. The sense of his absolute free- 
dom from all bonds of duty, of affection, of responsibility 
rushed over him with appalling violence. He stood alone, 
mentally and physically outcasted from among his fel- 
lows, but with all their capabilities of experiencing joy 
and sorrow, love and hatred. Moreover, the old lassitude 
had gone; something had been aroused in him— there was 
youth in his blood — a suppressed seething vitality. He 
took out an English sovereign and spun it, while the 
woman watched him in stupid wonder. 

"Tails, the professor ; heads, the devil !" he said aloud. 

The coin turned up heads. But in that moment his eyes 
passed to the distant outline of the hills ; memory swept 
him back twelve years to another night when he had 
stood as he stood now — ^alone. He had seen a child 
held up into the moonlight, and she had smiled at him — 



FATE DECIDES I19 

as she seemed to smile at him now— over the wild ocean 
of ruthless passion. The memory gripped him, held him 
by the power of its sheer beauty. 

He flung the gold piece at the woman's feet, and limped 
off into the darkness. 



CHAPTER ly 

SARASVATI 

THE Temple Jo the Unknown lay in sHaHow. The stars 
had gone out, passing silently like sentinels whose 
watch is done, and the frail sickle of the moon dropped 
behind the hills, leaving the world to a last hour of rest. 
The very air slept. No breeze stirred the sacred pool, 
whose surface stretcKed gray and sullen beneath the de- 
serted sky, and the leaves of the bo-trees at the water's 
edge hung silent in the waiting hush which precedes the 
dawn. Darkness painted itself on darkness. The mighty 
pillars of the temple threw their deeper shadow against 
the unlighted heaven and at their base night lingered 
sable and impenetrable. Only in the midst of the waters 
a single spark of light shone out amidst the gloom. The 
pool caught the reflection and drew it into its depths, 
where it glowed somberly like the red eye of some mon- 
ster hidden below the placid surface. Majestic and op- 
pressive, the gopuras rose up on either hand and watched 
the distant horizon for the first Heralds of the coming day. 
And at their feet the sanctuary lay wrapped in dreamless 
slumber. 

Two men came out of the black shadows by the great 
gateway. They crossed the first court and without speak- 
ing reached the water's edge, wKere a barge lay moored. 

I20 



SARASVATI 121 

They entered and cast ofif, and tHe younger of the two 
took the oars and rowed toward the island shrine whose 
lights signaled to them through the darkness. And still 
the silence remained unbroken save for the soft gurgle 
of the water against the gunwale and the splash of the 
oars as they sent long ripples over the sleeping pool. 
Presently the rower stopped and rested for a moment, his 
face lifted to the sky. 

"Surely there is no silence like this in the world," he 
said in a whisper. "It seems a living thing." 

"The Spirit of Generations untold broods here at day- 
break," bis companion returned poetically. "Are you 
afraid?" 

The other answered with a laugK. 

"Of what? Was I afraid last night when those devils 
brushed against us ? And what is there to fear, after all — 
Death—? Well, we all die." 

He rowed on, and the elder man smiled grimly to him- 
self in the darkness. 

"You are young, and the young are always tired of 
life," he observed in his guttural tones. "But here it is 
not death we fear — a thing more subtle than death." 

"Fate, perhaps? I feel her very close to one here." 

"She is with you always — in your own heart. But you 
know her not. Your soul sleeps, and sees not her greater 
sister. But in such hours as these she awakes — ^and 
knows." The speaker stretched out his powerful arms. 
"It is good when she awakes — ^if only for a little," he said. 
"Then is God in us." 

Hurst nodded absently. The blood-red eye drifted past 
them, and he watched it in fascinated silence. An icy 



122 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

breatfi, which seemed to rise from the stagnant water, 
brushed his cheek. A moment later the keel gjated 
against the ground. Yet he did not move. He looked 
across at his companion, whose bearded face had become 
faintly visible in the new mysterious brightness of the 
atmosphere. And he laughed again, but the laugh no 
longer sounded so harsh. There was a note of uncer- 
tainty in it which he strove to suppress with an angry 
impatience. 

"I believe — ^after all — I am afraid," he said grimly. 
"Tell me what you see. What is behind me? I tell you, 
my nerve's gone — God knows why. This silence — ^this at- 
mosphere is worse than a hundred of those devil's orgies. 
What are you looking at?" 

Heilig made no answer. He crossed the space dividing 
them, and took the younger man by the shoulders. 

"Look yourself I" he said in a sharp undertone. "Are 
you a coward ?" 

Hurst turned slowly. He felt the ghostly light upon 
his face, and yet for a moment he looked away, fearing he 
knew not what, overwhelmed by the instinctive recogni- 
tion of a relentless destiny which stood and waited. Then 
he raised his head. Immediately before him rose the 
rocks against which their barge had struck, and above 
them the graceful outline of the island shrine. The door 
stood open. Like a picture painted on a canvas of dark- 
ness, he saw the faded golden walls, the low altar upon 
whose be jeweled table an idol, cross-legged and bearing 
Siva's sacred trident, sat in threatening supremacy. A 
single lamp hung from the center of the low roof ; its sub- 
dued light lit up the god's loathsome features and sank 



SARASVATI 123 

like a crimson haze upon the altar steps, where countless 
lotus blossoms lay massed in dying loveliness. 

Hurst saw these things unconsciously — ^as details in 
some dream whose central figure held him spell-bound, be- 
reft of thought, almost of emotion. Sarasvati knelt be- 
fore the altar, her back to it, her face turned to the open 
doorway, her eyes fixed sightlessly on the dark waters be- 
yond. As though the lotus blossoms had exhaled their 
spirit into a woman's form, she rose from out their midst, 
white-clad, unadorned, save for the flowers which crowned 
the dark glory of her hair and fell in garlands from about 
her shoulders into her unconscious hands. Her face was a 
little raised ; her lips, cut in lines of noble sweetness, were 
a little parted, as though she thirsted. Yet her eyes were 
dead. They stared out from the perfect oval of her face 
like lamps whose flames have been extinguished, and only 
the glow beneath the olive skin and the soft rise and fall 
of the silken scarf across her breast spoke of the warm 
flowing life beneath. 

Hurst sat motionless, his elbows on the gunwale, 
his chin supported in his hand, and watched her. 
Thought — above all, memory — ^flooded back to him as 
though somewhere in his brain a tiny, yet fatal clot of 
blood had melted, setting free a long thwarted tide. The 
morbid rage against his kind and against himself passed 
like an evil dream. All existence, even to his own, seemed 
glorified in this one perfect being, and with this recogni- 
tion of perfection, of the supremely beautiful, came a deep 
sense of freedom, of release from a crushing stupefying 
burden. Without turning, he felt for Heilig's hand, and 
grasped it feverishly^ 



124 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 






Is she asleep ?" he whispered. 

'She hears and sees us not," Heilig answered. '^'But 
also she sleeps not. Her soul is with Brahma, where 
there is no thought, no passion, no desire, only an endless 
contemplation." 

"Her eyes are lifeless. How divine her eyes would 
be — ! Will she never awake?" 

"Not if the dear Gk)d is merciful." 

Hurst asked no further. He sat on motionless and 
silent, unconscious that the darkness behind him had 
melted into the luminous gray of dawn, and that the lamp 
above the altar had faded. And suddenly a shaft of light 
fell upon the dreamer's face, and spread about her en- 
veloping shrine and god in one golden splendor. 

"Come," Heilig said imperatively. "In a little while 
those devil worshipers of hers will return. There is dan- 
ger. Rouse yourself !" 

Hurst seemed not to hear him, and Heilig took the oars 
and carried them to his place. "Thy own soul seems not 
of the wakefulest," he muttered in his own language. 
He began to row vigorously toward the shore, and with 
an oath the young man at the prow turned upon him, his 
fists clenched, his black brows contracted. 

"Stop!" he said savagely. "What are you doing? Do 
you mean to leave her there — ^to those fiends ?" 

Heilig continued to pull stoically at the oars. 

"What would you haf me do?" he asked. 

"Save her — ^take her with you — ^an3rthing — " 

"And set fire to God knows what powder-mine? My 
'friend, do you share Herr Eliot's complacent belief that 



SARASVATI 125 

Indian fanaticism is dead? And what Haf yon to offer 
Sarasvati, the divine daughter of the gods? Will you gif 
her to your parson to Christianize? Will you let her serve 
as ayah to your honorable mother ? Will you make her as 
these miserable outcastes, whose faith you have trampled 
under foot?" His big voice softened. "No, no; leaf her 
to her fate — such as it is ; it is the one to which she was 
bom. Leaf her to her dreams — and to this, her world." 

Hurst put his hand to his head like a man waking from 
a long sleep. 

"I beg your pardon," he stammered. "For a moment 
the thought made me mad — ^but you are right — it would 
be cruel — a hell for a hell. And she belongs to this — " 
He broke off and looked about him, the tense muscles of 
his face relaxing gradually as though the beauty of the 
transformed world sank into his very soul. "It is all 
part of her," he added, half to himself. In silence they 
reached the rough landing-place. The dawn was passing 
slowly into day, and though the phantom night-shadows 
still lingered in the temple courts, the minarets and pillars 
bathed their highest points in the golden glory of the sun- 
rise and threw their proud reflections into the sacred pool 
beneath them. And life awoke. The waters rippled 
against the walls of their rocky prison, beating out a soft 
melodious music, and the leaves of the solitary bo-trees 
rustled a mysterious converse with the breeze. Above, a 
delicate network of white cloud drifted to the west, 
leaving an ever-widening space of turquoise which faded 
into gold and amber, and an awakening bird winged her 
way through the clear air to her nest among the ruins. 



126 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Professor Heilig laid his hand upon his companion's 
shoulder. His rugged resolute face had softened. 

"I haf shared my secret with you," he said. *Tn part 
It was yours — ^but tell no one of it, unless you would haf 
them say that you are as mad as an old German professor. 
These things are not for the wise and practical." 

Hurst roused himself. He looked back at the island 
shrine, now glistening in the full daylight, and his face 
darkened. 

"Perhaps one day the wise and practical will find her," 
he said with a sudden fear. 

"Nefer. In an hour she will haf disappeared. Do 
your clever friends come at midnight or at daybreak to 
the Temple to the Unknown ? No, no, they are too clever 
for that. They know that the old Sakti rites are no more 
and that Kali has ceased to ask blood as offering. So 
they come in the cool hours of the afternoon, and talk 
grave nonsense about dead religion and old civilizations, 
and the progress of Christianity, and the dear God knows 
what else, until the very shadows mock at them. A mys- 
tery? Yes, it is a mystery. An empty sanctuary which at 
midnight belches out its hundreds, and at daybreak lies 
dead and silent? Yes, I grant it you, I, too, do not under- 
stand, but one day when I am tired of life, I will try and 
find out." He gave a grim laugh, and began to stride 
toward the broken gateway of the outer temple. "But 
then, perhaps, it will be too late, and the sanctuary will haf 
opened of herself, and your wise friends will haf found 
their wisdom a poor thing compared to the folly they de- 
spised. I hope I shall lif to see it — it would be a fit end- 



SARASVATI 127 

ing." He glanced sidewise. at his companion. 'Tfou do 
not listen," he observed, but without resentment. 

Hurst stopped and pointed to the carved walls of the 
gopura. His face was white and hard. 

"I was thinking \of last night — and those," he said 
fiercely. "It was a devil's orgy, and these things are a 
devil's work." 

"They offend you ?" Heilig shrugged his shoulders. 
"Yes, they are not pictures for an English drawing-room, 
I admit ; but I could show you worse in the southern tem- 
ples," he added complacently. 

"But she is a woman," Hurst broke out with a sudden 
passion. "Scarcely a woman — a child, innocent of all evil 
— ^and one day she will awake from her dreams and see all 
this. They will drag her into their mire — ^make her one 
of themselves." 

Heilig made no immediate answer. He walked on rap- 
idly until they reached the brow of the hill, from whence 
they looked over the vast stretch of undulating jungle 
and forest land. There he stopped a moment, playing 
thoughtfully with his short carefully trimmed beard. 

"And you came up — out of that — ^at midnight, alone?" 
he asked abruptly. 

Hurst nodded. In memory he traced his own faltering 
footsteps and felt a faint vibration of that mingled fear 
and expectation which had fought their battle in his 
child's heart. And suddenly the gulf that separated 
now from then yawned before him, and he knew that he 
had become a man and that his passion was a man's pas- 
sion. 



128 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"And they laughed at you?" Heilig went on in the same 
tone of thoughtful curiosity. 

"I did not tell a very plausible story," Hurst answered. 

Heilig swung round upon him. 

"Does one only belief plausible stories? Is life plausi- 
ble? Come, if I told your friends that here — in this 
apparent pathless jungle — ^there was a secret road wide 
enough to allow a whole army to pass from here to Kol- 
runa in an hour, what would they do ? They would laugh 
at me. They would say they had nefer seen the road — 
that they had nefer seen any one building the road — and 
that, therefore, he can hot exist. But come — ^you shall 
see him, and know the value of wise laughter." He 
turned abruptly to the left and led the way down the 
smooth side of the hill to the edge of the jungle. Ther^ 
again he changed his course, keeping always on the out- 
skirts until without a moment's hesitation he turned into 
a narrow, scarcely noticeable opening in the thick under- 
growth which, after a few steps, broadened out to the 
width of an ordinary road. He glanced back, but the sud- 
den darkness hid his companion's face. 

"You see ?" he interrogated triumphantly. 

"How long has this existed?" Hurst returned. He 
spoke with the abruptness of an instinctive alarm. 

"A year. I helped make him with my own hands." 

"You !" 

The German laughed softly. 

"Yes, I — ^at midnight — and the clever Brahman priest 
who killed your father, and who has lain in hiding these 
twelve years, had the plans and gave orders. A wonder- 
ful man, Jungel I should like to have known him better." 



SARASVATI 129 



it 



'And you let this go on without warning us ?" 
Warning you? AchI yes, I warned the authorities, 
but they were not grateful, the authorities. They think 
me a little what we call verworren, and, after all, why 
should I bother? I am a man of science and a foreigner. 
It is not my affair." 

He walked on stolidly, keeping to the center of the 
road, which began to wind in slight gradations down 
the hillside, and Hurst asked no more. Tongue-tied 
by his Own crowding fancies and upheld by un- 
natural exaltation, he followed his guide in passive 
silence through the jungle. Once he put his hand to his 
head and found it burnt as though with fever, and his 
temples throbbed. Yet he felt no fatigue, only an insatia- 
ble restless energy. The sense of this awakening power 
was new to him ; it acted like an intoxicant on his racing 
blood. But whence it had come he did not know. He 
stood before the mysterious upheaval of his whole being 
and found no cause, above all — ^no peace. 

An hour passed and then the road ended, as it had 
begun, suddenly, in a narrow pathway, and they passed 
out of the gloom into the full sunshine. Before them lay 
the broad peaceful valley, and beyond Kolruna, glisten- 
ing like a white gem in the blaze of midday, the hills rose 
again and rolled sullenly toward the horizon. 

David Hurst stretched out his arms in sudden passion- 
ate relief. He threw back his head and drew in deep 
drafts of the soft air with the joy of a man who has been 
suffocated in a foul unwholesome prison. 

"My God, how beautiful sHe was !" he said aloud. 

Heilig seated himself cross-legged, amidst the long dry 



I30 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

grass and, taking out a carefully made-up parcel in tissue- 
paper, began to unknot the string with deliberate fingers. 

"Yes, she is beautiful,'* he said complacently. "Per- 
haps the most beautiful woman in India, and I haf seen 
many. But it will not last. Like her lotus flowers, she 
will fade before her time." His parcel was now un- 
packed, revealing a heap of sandwiches, which he held 
out hospitably. "Eat !" he said. "I promise you they are 
good, my sandwiches — none of your English flabbiness. 
Eat, friend." 

Hurst shook his head. 

"I am not hungry," he said impatiently. 

The professor chuckled in the midst of a substantial 
mouthful. 

"Ach, you are not hung^? You haf seen a beautiful 
woman and you haf become immortal? And you de- 
spise the coarse Teuton that he eats ? Do you think that 
I, who haf risked my life to see her nightly, do not feel 
how beautiful she is? Do you not think I haf tears of 
happiness at the sight of her ? And yet I eat. Body and 
soul go together — ^the dear God made it so — ^and he who 
denies it is a fool." 

Hurst turned with a quick movement of • apology. 

•'Forgive me !" he said. "It is not that — ^but I am full 
of unrest — iineasiness. Don't you understand? — it was 
all a boy's dream to me, and now it has come real." He 
dropped down into the g^ass at his companion's feet and 
lay at full length with his face supported in his hands. 
"Tell me — who is she?" he asked. 

"How do I know ? The child of some Brahman whom 



SARASVATI 131 

they have set up as goddess for their own purposes. 
They are cunning — ^those priests. They know how to 
pander to their followers." 

"And she— does she know for what purpose she is 
being used? Does she believe in her own divinity? — ^in 
that vile devils' religion?" 

Heilig dropped his sandwich, his face scarlet with 



scorn. 



Vile devils' religion!" he echoed. "Who are you to 
criticize a faith that dates its birth centuries before Christ, 
that taught mercy and love and truth while the Jews still 
clamored for a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, that 
recognized one Almighty God while your ancestors wor- 
shiped wooden idols ? Think you of last night's deviltry ? 
What is that but the excrescence which grows on every 
religion ? Look at Christ, and look at His churches, with 
their cant, their empty ritual, their g^eed, their bloody per- 
secutions, their heartless bigotry, and then, if you dare, 
criticize a people who haf fallen away from the high 
teaching of the Vedas !" He broke off suddenly and the 
indignation died out of his face. "But abof the churches 
there is Christ," he said gently, "and abof last night's 
superstitious wickedness there is Sarasvati, the spirit of 
purity, of unity with God." 

Hurst looked up. 

"You talk as though you hated the Christian church," 
he said, "and yet your greatest friend is a Catholic mis- 
sionary." 

"Father Romney? He teach his followers the simple 
truths of justice and love and mercy, as they might find 



132 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

thiem written in their own Vedas, knowing that when they 
haf learnt their lesson they will be ready for the greater 
truth — ^perhaps be nearer it than many so-called Chris- 
tians. At least he does not turn them into hypocritical 
atheists such as haunt Herr Eliot's chapel." Heilig gave 
a short contemptuous laugh. "And one day he will be 
excommunicated," he added bitterly. 

A silence fell between the two men. Heilig returned 
to his sandwich and Hurst lay very quiet, with his face 
hidden in his hands. Pre^ntly he looked up. The black 
wavy hair hung disordered over his brows and a feverish 
fire burned in his eyes and sallow cheeks. 

"And the end — ^what will it be?" he asked Hoarsely. 

"For her? I do not know, but it will come swift and 
sudden. Goddesses die not — nor grow old — ^they vanish, 
and no man sees them more." 

"My God ! You mean— they will kill her?" 

Heilig shrugged his shoulders. 

"If it suited them, why not ?" 

"And we can do nothing?" 

"Nothing. I am a foreigner and haf no right to inter- 
fere. You are bound by your conventions, your laws, 
your very ideals. You can not free others when you are 
yourself not free." He gathered his remaining sand- 
wiches together and put them carefully into his pocket. 
"Come," he said. "It is late, and we haf far to go." 

In silence they set off across the burnt and parched 
fields toward Kolruna. On either hand were the dreaded 
signs of coming famine, and Heilig nodded significantly. 

"Soon there will be trouble," he said. 

It was late afternoon before they reached the white 



SARASVATI 133 

bungalow on the outskirts of the town, and Hurst, re- 
sponding to the professor's invitation, followed him 
through the pleasant garden and into the library. A 
writing-table, a few chairs and a small upright piano con- 
stituted the furniture, while the whitewashed walls were 
unadorned save for the engravings of Bismarck and 
iWagner. Father Romney, who had been preparing a 
curious meal of tea and the inevitable sandwiches, looked 
up as they entered and uttered an exclamation of intense 
relief. 

"I am glad you have come," he said. "I was growing 
anxious about you. There has been a peculiar unrest in 
the native quarter to-day, and I feared something had 
happened." 

Something always happens," Heilig answered grimly, 
but unless somebody gets murdered no one notices it." 

His keen eyes rested on his friend's weary face. "You 
haf had trouble ?" he decided. 

Father Romney smiled faintly. 

"A little. I had brought some fresh bandages to a poor 
Pariah woman who had cut her arm, and a rabble set on 
me. It was a little affair — a few stones — no more." 

"H'm — Herr Eliot's followers, no doubt," Heilig mut- 
tered. 

He pushed the proffered cup of tea aside. "Bah ! no, 
I can not drink. I am sick to death." He flung himself 
down at the piano and played two violent chords, and then 
sat with his hands resting on the keys, scowling in front 
of him. Hurst and Father Romney exchanged a smile, 
and Hurst stepped out upon the balcony, knowing by ex- 
perience what course Heilig's wrath would take. Pres- 



et 



134 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

ently tHe professor tegan to play. His Eot rage still 
burned, and he burst into the Funeral March in the Got- 
terddmmerung with a fire and force which rang with a 
double strength in the languid oriental atmosphere. 
Hurst leaned with his elbows on the veranda rails and lis- 
tened. His eyes were fixed on the far-off hills, but be- 
tween them and him titanic statues of great heroes rose 
and crossed before his vision, seeming to call to action. 
They passed. Heilig, soothed and inspired by his own 
music, struck the first note to Isolde's love-death, and 
all the tenderness and all the divine aspiration of the 
immortal song drifted out to the motionless listener. The 
infinite resignation of the opening bars, the rising breath- 
less longing which, as it sways heavenward, halts for a 
moment to gather strength, came to him in some strange 
way as a revelation of himself. Stranger still, it mingled 
with the memories of a woman and of a dimly-lighted 
shrine, and as the g^eat crescendo died away to silence, he 
saw her face touched with the first rays of the rising sun. 
And he knew then that the memory of her had been 
woven into his life. 

He turned, conscious that he was no longer alone, and 
found Father Romney at his side. The priest laid his 
hand gently on his arm. 

"Forgive me," he said. "I have been watching you. It 
seemed to me that you had changed. Is it so ?" 

"Changed ? I do not understand you." 

"Again, forgive me — ^but last night you frightened me. 
Your face frightened me. It was hard and reckless like 
that of a man who has not only lost God, but himself. 
To-night — ^you are different. I no longer fear for you/' 



SARASVATL " " 135 

Hurst looked into the eager emaciated face and smiled. 

"Why do you trouble yourself about me? I am not of 
your faith. I have no faith." ^ 

"But you are human, like myself. How can we take no 
interest in each other, have no sympathy and pity for each 
other, when we bear the same burdens, and carry in us the 
shadow of a final inevitable tragedy which we must bear 
alone ? What is a creed compared to that ?" 

Hurst grasped the extended hand. 

"You are more generous than most of those who 
preach in your Master's name," he said, "and you are 
right. Last night I seemed to have lost everything that 
I could ever have hoped for — success, love, the applause 
of those among whom I live. I had set my heart on them, 
and when they failed I had nothing in me to fall back on, 
no faith, no ideals, not even a poor dream. To-night — it 
is all different. I know there are other things in life than 
those for which I struggled. They chained me, weighed 
me down. But I have set myself free — I no longer desire 
or need them." 

"Perhaps then they will come to you," the priest said 
quietly. 

Hurst did not hear him. With a curt farewell he 
passed down the steps into the garden, and limped 
toward the highroad. His own words repeated them- 
selves in his brain with a triumphant persistency. "I have 
set myself free," he had said, and therein proclaimed to 
himself his own emancipation. The people among whom 
he had been born, whose love and approbation he 
had striven for, had discarded him as useless — ^he now 
discarded them. In this hour he flung aside finally the 



136 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

ideals and ambitions to which they Had pointed him, and 
stretched out his arms to a world which was his own by 
right of conquest. He looked toward the hills and knew 
that the barrier between them was yielding. They had 
opened to him their secrets, and the dream of his child- 
hood came back to him as a living splendid reality. 

"Sarasvati, daughter of Brahma!" he said aloud, and 
stood there motionless, with his face turned to the distant 
outline, until twilight became night 



CHAPTER V 

TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE 

IT happened shortly afterward that the professors 
prophecy was fulfilled, and the grim specter of famine 
stalked the parched and barren valleys of the Deccan. In 
Kolruna, as elsewhere, the European inhabitants watched 
the enemy's progress with an active alarm which was 
counterbalanced by the fatalistic resignation of the inevit- 
able sufiFerers. The natives prayed to their gods for a 
monsoon which never came, and the English officials pre- 
pared themselves for the consequences — hard and unre- 
mitting labor, with the curses of the population as 
thank-offering. Even Kolruna's native regiment shared 
in the general activity. Large stores of rice had been 
smuggled secretly into town, and lay under Colonel Chi- 
chester's protection, in anticipation of the day when re- 
lief should be doled out to the famine-stricken. Colonel 
Chichester had himself advised the measure. He knew 
something of Indian famines, and moreover there were 
rumors that the gods declared that the presence of the 
cow-killing, wine-drinking foreigner was the cause of the 
monsoon's non-appearance. "After that," as the brisk 
little soldier expressed it, "you might expect the band to 
play at any minute." 

There was probably only one person in Kolruna, 

137 



138 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

or, for that matter, in India, to whom the famine 
came in the guise of a god-send — namely, Mrs. Chi- 
chester. That little woman, though she had long since 
exhausted the energies of her friends in countless fore- 
doomed enterprises, was herself inexhaustible, and she 
viewed the prospective trouble with the delight of an in- 
corrigible philanthropist. Within twenty-four hours of 
the announcement that the enemy was in the land she had 
formed a committee, had appointed herself president, and, 
as a sop to Cerebus, presented Mr. Eliot with the post of 
secretary. Within forty-eight hours Kolruna was faced 
with the fact that her "first lady" was on the eve of giving 
a combined subscription ball and bazaar which everybody 
had to attend — with the option of social ostracism. 

Kolruna groaned, but Mrs. Chichester explained her 
project with an enthusiasm worthy of the cause — if not of 
the means. The subscriptions were to go to the relief- 
fund, and the idea of the bazaar was that the ladies should 
present articles for sale — self-manufactured, stolen or 
bought, Mrs. Chichester, in the name of charity, was not 
particular — and that their husbands, or brothers, as the 
case might be, should buy them back at famine prices. The 
ladies were delighted, the masculine part of the popula- 
tion resigned, and Mrs. Chichester bustled along her path 
of triumph. She chose Mrs. Hurst's bungalow as the 
scene of her operations. Mrs. Hurst protested, but Mrs. 
Chichester, who only heard what she wanted to hear, ar- 
rived shortly afterward with her committee, consisting of 
her daughter, Diana, two elderly ladies, Mr. Eliot and the 
judge, and was so determined and cheerful and vague 
that her unwilling hostess not only had to surrender, but 



TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE 139 

was herself hustled into the select circle as treasurer. 
The judge witnessed this astonishing spectacle with a 
shamefaced delight. 

"I was frightened out of my life when I heard we had 
to come here," he whispered, under cover of the. gen- 
eral confusion. "I know how you hate fusses, and did 
my best, but nothing would stop her — not even you." 

"As though I were a sort of Juggernaut !" Mrs. Hurst 
laughed. "As a matter of fact, I don't really mind. It's 
delightful to see some one else so energetic in this heat, 
and I do not suppose we need do much besides listen." 

"I want David," Mrs. Chichester broke in suddenly. 
She had been having a sharp passage at arms with her 
secretary, and had won by sheer force of not listening 
to his answers. Mr. Eliot, unaccustomed to this method 
of warfare, sat heated and breathless, conscious of defeat 
but totally unable to trace its cause. His small dead eyes 
contrasted amusingly with Mrs. Chichester's big blue- 
gray ones, which at that moment sparkled with harmless 
malice. 

"I want David," she repeated. "I must have a useful 
young man to run errands and see that the natives don't 
steal things. Jean, where is David?" 

"In his writing-room, I expect," Mrs. Hurst answered. 
"But Tm afraid he is of no use for your purposes, Eliza- 
beth." 

"Very well. Di, go and fetch him, please. Say he 
must come at once." She flashed back to Mr. Eliot, and 
her daughter, with an amused resignation, went out of 
the room and across the passage to the familiar library. 
She knocked, and after a moment's unwilling silence a 



140 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

voice answered, and she opened the door and entered. 
Hurst sat at his table and his back toward her, apparently 
reading, but he did not turn, and a sharp, "What is it, 
Sita?** proved that he had mistaken his visitor's identity. 

"It's I, David," Diana said meekly. "May I come in for 
a minute?" 

Hurst sprang to his feet. He was in his shirt-sleeves, 
collarless, with ruffled hair and traces of ink on his hands, 
but his manner was curiously free from all embarrass- 
ment. 

"Of course, Di," he said. "I didn't know who it was. 
Wait until I get my coat, will you ?" 

"Please don't bother about the coat." She pushed him 
Hack firmly into his chair. "If you fuss, I shall go away. 
Besides, I like you better without it. I think you are 
one of those people who look nicest when they're dirty." 

"Thank you. I didn't know I was actually dirty." 

"But you are. What with your black hair and eye- 
brows, you look as though you had been dipped in an 
ink-pot." She considered him thoughtfully. "What con- 
trasts we make !" she added, as though the fact gave her 
an artistic and quite impersonal satisfaction. 

"Which means you are feeling particularly fresh and 
clean and beautiful! I suppose you wanted a set-oflF, 
and came to me for it. Now what are you looking at?" 

"This room. It was your father's?" 

"Yes; I was just looking through some old papers of 
his." 

"Oh !'^ Evidently she was interested, but conscious of 
being on dangerous ground. She smoothed her fair hair 
with one hand — ^a trick of hers when not thinking of any- 



TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE 141 

thing particular — ^and her wide-open gray eyes wan- 
dered restlessly around as though in search of something. 
"I'm trying to remember what I came about," she ex- 
plained. Hurst waited patiently. In some ways Diana 
was like her mother. She could have fits of absent- 
mindedness, but, unlike her mother, she was capable of 
intense concentration when the occasion demanded. 
'Tfou're wanted," she said with sudden remembrance. 
"Mother wants you for her bazaar. Mrs. Hurst said you 
wouldn't come, but of course that made no difference. 
WiUyou?" 

"Come ? No— many thanks." 

"I have to take part. Won't you help me ?" 

He looked straight into her face. 

"I'd like to help you, of course. But I Have my own 
work — ^and, frankly, I have no room in my life for that 
sort of thing. Ask Hatherway." 

"I think Dick would rather carry coals." 

"So would I." 

"My dear David !" 

He laughed again with the same easy unconcern. 

"It sounds rude, I know, but I have some experience 
with that sort of functions, and I know I am useless. I 
would rather give assistance in a more satisfactory 
form." 

Diana was silent for a moment. She stood with her 
hand resting on the table, and gazed out of the window, 
her profile turned to him, but he could see that her brows 
were knitted. In that moment she seemed to him more 
lovely than ever before. The delicate muslin dress suited 
the simple graceful lines of her figure, and the careless 



142 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

arrangement of her hair softened the classical severity 
of her features, which were still somewhat flushed from 
recent encounters with her mother's vagaries. 

"David, do you know something?" she asked suddenly. 

"Know what?" 

"That I feel I don't know you any more. I feel quite 
awkward with you, as though you were a stranger." 

"We see very little of each other," he suggested. 

"Perhaps that is the reason. You never go anywhere. 
You seem to avoid everybody — except the old professor 
and 'that Jesuit', as Mr. Eliot calls him. People are be- 
ginning to talk about you, David." 

"Are they?" 

"You don't seem very interested, but I'm going to tell 
you, whether you like it or not. Somebody told father 
that you spent the nights in the native bazaar, and that 
you were seen wandering over the country at all hours of 
the morning. It doesn't sound a bit nice, David." 

"No, I quite agree. Did Colonel Chichester tell you?** 

"No, he told mother. Mr. Eliot has openly hinted that 
you are going to the devil." 

"Oh !" 

There was a moment's silence. Diana stared at her 
companion with a grave wonder. He did not flinch, but 
the mouth under the short black mustache was slightly 
amused. 

"Are you ?" 

"What — ?" 

"Going to the devil?" 

"Perhaps — ^at any rate, I am going my own way." 



TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE 143 

"Somehow that sounds like a dismissal. Good-by, 
David." 

"Good-by, Di." 

He held the door open for her with an easy courtesy 
which she recognized as new in him, and for a moment 
she hesitated. 

"You may find your own way a rather lonely way," 
she said, with an earnestness which she had not hitherto 
shown. 

"That is as I wish it." 

"If ever — ^by any chance — ^it should prove unbearable, 
I should like you to remember that you have one friend 
who doesn't care how far you have gone." 

"Where, Di?" 

Her eyes filled with laughter. 

"To the devil." 

"I believe you rather want me to go," he observed. 

"It might do you good," she retorted. "At any rate, I 
would rather you did anything than jog-trot to heaven." 

He waited until the drawing-room door had closed be- 
hind her, then he went back to his father's papers. He 
had discovered them in a secret drawer, and from their 
methodical arrangement, he judged that no one had 
touched them since the night his father had gone to his 
death. For the most part they were old receipted bills, 
but here and there he came across the torn leaf of a diary, 
covered with a close faded writing. David Hurst read 
them carefully and laid them aside. One sheet bore the 
date of the day preceding his birth. 

"In a few hours, pray God, Jean will have her son. 



144 iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

and I my freedom," Walter Hurst had written with un- 
conscious irony. "No one knows how I have striven to 
fulfil the destiny she mapped out for me in her loving 
ambition. I have gone against myself, fought down 
every instinct. My life has become a pitiable farce in 
which I play the hypocrite — ^the make-believe hero; but 
now I am tired and can do no more. When she has her 
son she will transfer her pride to him and he will carry 
on for her the traditions of our name. I can not — I was 
not made great, or even courageous. My imagination 
never leaves me. I see everything I do before it is done 
— ^all the consequences, all the possibilities. I am afraid 
of to-night's work. But I dare not show her that I am 
afraid. She would hate me — and I love her. My God, 
how I love her f Her beauty and the strength of her soul 
uphold me. If I were only worthy of her — if I could 
at least die worthy of her — before she finds out the 
truth—" 

This confession, scrawled a few hours before death 
had answered the writer's prayer, broke off suddenly. 
David Hurst reread it many times, as though he were 
committing it to memory. Then he tore it carefully into 
a hundred pieces. And his face was set in lines of a grim 
pity. 

That night, contrary to custom, he dined alone with 
his mother. The occasion was a rare one. By mutual 
consent they avoided a tete-a-tete in which their total 
estrangement appeared in all its nakedness, but on this 
particular evening Hurst's manner changed their rela- 
tionship. Instead of the old tentative almost timid af- 
fection he displayed a courteous but distant friendliness. 



TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE 145 

They dined together as acquaintances, and as acquaint- 
ances separated for the night. Both retired to their own 
rooms. Soon afterward Hurst summoned the servant 
who watched hy his door. 

"I am sleeping on the veranda," tie said, "Wake me 
two hours before dawn." 

The man salaamed. 

"It is weU, Sahib." 

Hurst changed from his evening clothes into a rough 
suit of drill, then flung himself down upon the lounge- 
chair outside. The night was stifling. Hot waves of air 
rose from the parched ground and hung like a quivering 
mist about the tops of the peepul-trees, whose pointed 
leaves fringed the dark sapphire of the night sky. The 
moon had not yet risen. David Hurst lay with his hands 
behind his head and watched the uneasy flickering of the 
stars until sleep overtook him. At about three o'clock the 
native servant glided out of the shadows of the bedroom 
and touched him lightly on the shoulder. 

"It is time, Sahib," he whispered. 

Hurst rose instantly and without a word went down 
the steps into the garden. At the gate he collided witH 
a man who seemed to have been standing waiting, and 
in the recoil he recognized by the faint light hanging 
mysteriously over the valley the broad shoulders and 
placid face of the unexpected apparition. 

"Judge!" he said sharply. "You here!" 

"I believe midnight strolls are free," the judge re- 
turned without embarrassment. 

"By all means. The time is admirable for those wtio 
wish to be alone." 



146 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Do you wish to be alone, David ?*' 

*T confess — ^yes." 

The two men considered each other in silence. Hurst's 
tone had been cold to the point of insolence. 

"Nevertheless, I should be glad if you would allow 
me to accompany you a little on your — stroll, I have 
something I wish to say to you." 

"Then you came out here to see me?" 

"I came out to see if certain rumors were based on 
fact." 

"In other words, you were spying on me ?" 

"In a certain sense — ^yes." 

Hurst began to walk along the road away from Kol- 
runa. The judge kept at his side. The difference in age, 
the long-standing friendship had ceased to play a part 
between them. A smothered yet fierce antagonism of 
wills had taken the place of the old understanding. 

"Might I ask your authority and your object?" Hurst 
asked with a flash of cold resentment. 

The judge coughed. He was breathing hoarsely and 
irregularly, but he did not slacken his long stride. 

"My authority, David? I don't suppose I have any. 
My object is to prevent you from making a mess of your 
Ufe." 

"You are very kind* I was not aware that the matter 
was anybody's concern but my own." 

"There is your mother." 

Hurst threw back his head and laughed. "Was it she 
who set you on your new hobby?" 

"No. I took it up on my own behalf. I heard ugly 
stories about you, and I meant to find out for myself." 



TWO PEOPLE INTERFERE I47 

"It would have been simpler if you Had come to me 
direct/' 

The judge laughed grimly. 

"If the stories had been without foundation, you would 
have been indignant, and if they had been true, you 
would have lied," he said. 

"Most wise judge! Might I ask how long you have 
been outside waiting?" 

"Since eight o'clock," was the imperturbable answer. 

"Six hours! Good heavens!" Hurst stood still and 
repeated his short ironical laugh. "All this for love of 
the prodigal." 

A shaking hand rested on his arm. In the dim light 
Hurst caught a glimpse of a face ashy with physical suf- 
fering. 

"There is your mother, David. You bear her name — 
she is very proud of it. It would break her heart if you 
— dragged it in the mud." 

"It was for my mother's sake, then 1" 

The grasp on his arm tightened. The judge's voice 
grew suddenly very quiet. 

"David Hurst, you are a cur if you mock at something 
which I have kept hidden for thirty years," he said sim- 
ply. 

Hurst did not answer for a moment. When he spoke 
again his manner had undergone a change. 

"I have been blind," he said. "I am young, and the 
young see only their own troubles." 

"Not only the young," the judge answered. 

"But at least I have been discourteous and ungrateful 
— I did not understand. Forgive me." 



148 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"There is nothing to forgive— only — ^go home, David. 
It's all I ask for her sake." 

Gently but firmly Hurst loosened the hand that held 
him. 

"Do you remember an afternoon some twelve years ago 
when my mother told you that she hated me ?" 

"Good God ! — ^you heard ?" 

"Yes. It has taken me twelve years to digest it all, 
but now the process is at an end, and — ^you'll understand, 
Judge — ^I'm infernally indifferent to the wishes of people 
who hate me. That's natural, isn't it ?" 

The judge nodded. He seemed to have sunk together 
like a man who had received a blow. 

"Yes, d — ^ned natural, David. I haven't any more to 
say— except, for your own sake — " 

"I don't care very much for myself, either — ^just 
enough not to wreck my life against a rock, as others 
have done before me. That's what I nearly did do— but 
I saved myself in time. I'm free — quite free — ^responsi- 
ble to no one." He turned and looked about him. "Our 
ways part here, Judge." 

"Where are you going?" 

"To a woman." 

"David 1 Then it's true— " 

"Quite true. But she has never spoken to me or seen 
me. Tell that to Kolruna, and see what they make of it 
Good night." 

He received no answer. The judge stared after him 
until the night engulfed his shadow. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE AWAKENING 



L 



UNCHANGING as the grim-faced idol which stared 
over her head into the awakening day, she knelt 
amidst the flowers, her hands folded upon her lap, her 
lips parted in the same unspoken unsatisfied long- 
ing. So she had appeared to him as he stood 
quietly at the shrine's entrance, and so she had 
appeared to him, morning after morning, since that 
first dawn when he had seen her in all the per- 
fection of her sleeping womanhood. Until now he had 
never wished it otherwise. In his dreams she had be- 
longed to him as no other human being had ever done 
or would do. In these silent visits and in his hours of 
loneliness he had woven his life about her, hugging her 
reality to his famished soul, warming his half-frozen 
humanity at the fire of her imagined tenderness. He had 
known that he, too, dreamed, but his dreams had had for 
their object a living being who had never shattered his 
illusion, nor thrust upoij him his own utter folly. 

Day after day he had stood before her, yet her eyes had 
never rested upon him with the cold half-pitying indiffer- 
ence whose remembrance clung like poison to his blood. 
Her eyes were blank — ^he had painted into them all the 

149 



ISO THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

i 

warmth of his own imagining; no more than her quiet 

breath passed her lips, but in his dreams she had spoken 
to him, and her words had filled the great emptiness of 
his life. He had put the thought of her waking hours — 
if waking hours she had — from him, sick with the pain 
of his own awakening. For he knew that then she passed 
out of his possession, ceased to be his creation. What 
she then was he did not know — ^at best, perhaps, an ig- 
norant Hindu child ; at the worst, a woman conscious of 
her power, indifferent to its possible high uses. 

But it was as neither of these that Hurst had seen her — 
only as a lovely vase into which he poured his dreams and 
ideals, his whole unsatisfied desire. She had belonged to 
him. The very water that beat against her rocky shrine 
separated her from the world and made her more surely 
his; her passivity, her very helplessness had aroused in 
him the knowledge of his own strength, and with that a 
chivalrous reverence and tenderness. And yet, beneath 
all there had been unrest. He felt it stirring in his blood 
as he stood there, his arms folded across his breast, 
watching her, marking with the appreciation of the in- 
stinctive artist the exquisite outlines of her features, the 
noble carriage of the dark head. He no longer felt the 
complete peace which the contemplation of her beauty 
had first given him. His dreams were good, but they 
were no more than dreams. Behind the smooth fore- 
head there was a brain which dreamed apart from him, 
beneath the quiet breast a heart which beat its own peace- 
ful measure. The vase was very fair, but it contained 
something more than his fancy — ^the mystery of a human 
character. 



THE AWAKENING . . 151 

For the first time the thought took definite form 
in his mind, and with it awoke desire, a reckless, head- 
long need of the reality. He was weary of lighting 
her eyes with a warmth he had never seen, of filling the 
silence with a voice he had never heard. Unknown to 
him, his egoism faltered ; the passive reflection of himself 
no longer satisfied — ^all that was divine in his love clam- 
ored for the companionship of a being equal to himself, 
independent of himself, and yet his own. And reason, 
stunned by the sudden onrush of desire, relaxed her hold 
and the name was spoken which had trembled a hundred 
times on his lips. 

"Sarasvati !" he said scarcely above his breath. In the 
absolute quiet the whisper fell like a discordant note of 
music. Startled, horrified by his own mad act. Hurst 
recoiled, and for a brief instant his shadow was thrown 
across the dreamer's face. He saw it, and drew back 
against the marble pillar of the entrance, and once more 
the brightening ray of sunshine flooded back into the 
shrine. But to Hurst's dazed eyes the fleeting darkness 
had wrought a miracle. The air had awakened ; life beat 
past him on golden wings ; the dreaming silence vanished 
like a mist dispelled by the breath of some sudden rising 
wind, and in the dead eyes of the woman kneeling before 
the altar a light had dawned more wonderful than his 
highest fancy had ever painted it. He stood, leaning 
against the marble pillar, and watched the wonder of her 
awakening in scarcely conscious silence. Slowly, like the 
petals of a flower, her hands unfolded, then rose and laid 
themselves across her breast, as though in protection of 
some treasured secret. Many minutes passed thus, in 



152 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

which she seemed to be drawing her soul back from the 
shadowy country of her contemplation; then suddenly 
she turned and the eyes with their warmth of unutterable 
tenderness rested on him in fearless greeting. 

"My Lord and God!" she said in the softness of her 
own tongue. 

"Sarasvati 1" he answered tonelessly. 

She rose like some white spirit and came toward him, 
her hands outstretched, palms upward, her face radiant 
with joy that seemed to him not of this earth. In that 
instant her divinity was a real thing, and he shrank from 
her. Then her hands touched him, rested on his 
shoulders, and all thought, all reason sank engulfed in a 
flood which in its immensity became passionless. He 
held her to him and kissed her, not wildly, but as a man 
thirsting in the middle of a trackless desert drinks of 
some unhoped-for stream of crystal water. All knowl- 
edge of himself, of her, of life, passed. For a time, which 
seemed at once fleeting and immeasurable, his innermost 
being flung off the shackles of mortality and rose tri- 
umphant into a boundless space — where there was no 
thought, no desire, scarcely consciousness. It was a state 
near death — ^he knew it, and the strong life within fought 
and conquered. Through a thinning haze he saw her 
face, the closed eyes, the faintly smiling mouth, and knew 
that she was a mortal woman and their happiness earthly. 

"Sarasvati !" he repeated. 

Her eyes opened. They burned, but behind their fire 
were still the lingering shadows of her dreams. 

"My Lord — ^thou hast called me — ^I am here,'* she said. 
"Long have I heard thy voice, long striven against thee. 



THE AWAKENING 153 

But thy need was greater than my strength — ^and I 



came." 



«'■ 



Thou heardest me!" he stammered, in her own 
tongue. "It seemed that thou wert asleep, and neither 
saw nor knew when I came and went. Sarasvati, how 
long hast thou known me?" 

"Surely through all the ages," she answered in the low 
warm notes of her voice, "and yet perchance only a little 
while. In Nirvana there is no time — ^and almost had I 
attained Nirvana, when thou camest and calledst to me. 
I heard thy voice through the great silence, and half did 
I struggle against thee." Once more she laid her hands 
upon his shoulders, and her eyes filled with a deep repent- 
ance. "My Lord-^-I know not why — I was afraid." 

"Of what?" he asked gently. 

"Of earth and earth's dreams." He felt her shudder 
as though by some ugly memory. "I, too, have dreamed 
— strange ugly visions of sin and of men's passions — ^but 
then was the wisdom of the Vedas given to me, and I 
knew that, after all, they were but dreams which hide 
our unity with the Most High. Through prayer and med- 
itation I obtained peace." She lifted her dark fathomless 
eyes to his. "On earth there is no peace," she finished 
sadly. 

He looked at her, marveling at her pathetic wisdom. 

"And I have brought thee back," he said. "I have 
done great wrong." 

"Thou art my God," she answered with a sudden pas- 
sionate gesture. "Whither thou callest I must follow — all 
my life and love is thine." 

"What dost thou know of love?" he asked her. 



154 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

She turned a little, pointing out through the open 
doorway to the sunlit world beyond. 

"The word is written in the Vedas," she said gently. 
''Oft did I ponder of it, and scarcely knew its meaning. 
Only when the warm light fell upon me, or when the 
moon rose and played with the waters, I felt a strange 
beating at my heart, and it seemed to me that then love 
drew nearer. But that is long since. In Nirvana there 
is no love— only silence and solitude." She paused, and 
then added under her breath, "And yet there love came to 



me. 



He took her face between his hands and kissed her — 
reverently, for he knew that she was showing him the 
mystery of a woman's heart as perhaps no woman had 
shown a man before. 

"Tell me I" he pleaded. "How did love come?" 

"As a wind breathing through my loneliness — at first 
softly, then as a great storm which caught me up and 
bore me earthward — ^here — ^to thy feet. - At first I would 
not — ^then, when I saw thy face, I knew that thou hadst 
need of me, and I fought no more." 

"When didst thou first see my face ?" he persisted. 

"I know not," she answered dreamily. "For me there 
is no time. Almost I believe that I have always seen thee 
— in the sunshine and in the stars — and afterward, in my 
solitude, I seemed to wait for thy coming as a soul waits 
for its hour of rebirth. Around me were clearness and 
silence; wishless and dreamless, I meditated on Brahma 
and on one great truth. But a mist gathered before my 
sight and in the midst I saw thy face, and out of the 
silence thy voice called upon me — 'Sarasvati, daughter of 



THE AWAKENING 155 

/ 

BraIima'P''2\Lnd still I strove to think on the All One and 
on the Sacred Word, but always thy face rose before me. 
And the wind grew stronger, and my soul awoke and 
spread its wings, and joy was given me greater than the 
joy of peace." 

She leaned her head against his shoulder and for 
a moment neither spoke. The sunlight poured in upon 
them and lit up the face of the watching god as 
though in warning. But David Hurst had forgotten time 
and place. More perfect, more wonderful than any 
dream of her had she revealed herself to him — ^not as a 
child, nor yet as an empty-hearted woman, but as a soul 
that had ripened to maturity in its dreams, a being armed 
with a strange unchildish wisdom, yet purer, more inno- 
cent than the flowers that lay upon her altar. And the 
love that she had brought him who had hitherto been 
loveless, was as a gift straight from the hands of God. 

"My beloved!" he said. Unconsciously he used his 
own tongue, and she looked up at him with an untroubled 
question in her eyes. 

Thou speakest and I do not understand," she said. 
Who art thou? Art thou not Siva — ^the god — ^my hus- 
band?" 

He shook his head, smiling, yet struck by a sudden 
pain. 

"I am no god, but a mortal like thyself, Sarasvati. Be- 
hold, thy husband is neither god nor man — ^a senseless 
lifeless image. What is he to thee ?" 

No change came into her upturned face. That which 
he had feared to see — scorn or disappointment — ^was not 
there ; only a limitless trust. 



it 
it 



IS6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



"Thou art not as those others whom I saw in my 
dreams," she said. "From whence comest thou?" 

"From a loneliness greater than thine," he answered. 

"And has love come to thee also ?" she asked wistfully. 

"Yes, Sarasvati. I think I have loved thee always — 
unknown even to myself. It was my love that awakened 
thine." 

"Then art thou surely my husband," she said with a 
naive confidence. She laid her hands in his and drew 
back a step considering him, and he bore her scrutiny 
unflinchingly. For the first time in his life love looked 
at him and found no fault. "Thou art fairer than all 
men," she said simply. 

"Among my own people I am called dark and ugly," 
he said, laughing. "Hast thou seen thy own face?" 

She shook her head. 

"When thou hast seen it, thou wilt know that I am but 
a poor mate for thee, Sarasvati," he said. 

Then, with a quick impulsive movement, she came back 
to him and laid her slender arms about his neck. 

"What are our bodies but shadows ?" she said. Vis it 
not our souls that love — ^that have found each other? 
Art thou not mine as I am thine?" 

"Yes," he answered. And yet, even as he field her to 
him in a passionate gratitude, his eyes fell on the grin- 
ning idol, and in the distance he heard the sound of voices 
raised in loud melodious chant, and knew that the end 
was at hand. 

"Sarasvati," he whispered, "thy people come for thee. 
Canst thou not hear them ?" 



THE AWAKENING 157 

"They sing unto Dyaus, the goddess of the dawn," she 
answered dreamily. "What are they to me? Take me 
to thy people, who are mine. Let me follow thee." 

Very gently he loosened her hands from about his 
neck. The full measure of his madness had become clear 
to him. He had called her from her peace, perhaps to 
death — ^at least to the bitterness of grim reality and loss. 
Yet in the realization he felt a calm and strength that 
were new to him. He led her back to her place before the 
altar and forced her to her knees. She made no resist- 
ance, but looked at him with a dawning fear, her hands 
outstretched, and he took them and kissed them. 

"Sarasvati, death is very near to both of us. Is thy 
love strong enough to trust me ?" 

"Have I not trusted thee already ?" she answered sim- 
ply. 

"Return to thy peace for a little longer. Then I will 
come for thee. Canst thou not?" 

"I can but seem," she said. "My peace is gone. But 
since it is for thy life, I will try. Look, my Lord." 

Like a child she folded her hands before her and lifted 
her face to the full sunshine. But the face was no more 
the same. The breathless longing had gone. The lips 
were closed in a proud line of determination, and in the 
dead eyes there burned love and that high courage which 
is given to women in the hour of need. Again he kissed 
her. 

"Be patient. I will come again!" he whispered. She 
made no answer. Yet, as he reached the door, he thought 
he heard a smothered cry, and looked back at her. She 



iS8 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

had not moved. Her eyes were lifted steadily to the light, 
but he saw that they were dim with tears and that the 
first deep line of pain had drawn itself about the rigid 
mouth. 

"Sarasvati !" he whispered. 

And suddenly her lips smiled at him with their first 
radiance. 

"I know that thou wilt come again !" she said. 

He turned, but already, as he saw the farther bank of 
the sacred pool, he knew that it was too late. The doors 
of the sanctuary stood open and a procession of priests, 
whose chants had broken tl^p silence, came slowly to the 
water's edge. As yet they had not seen him, and he 
stumbled to the boat and thrust it off, so that it drifted 
shoreward with the soft morning wind. Then, without 
hesitation, he slipped noiselessly into the water and struck 
out for the stone steps beneath the shadow of the gopura. 
He swam low, so that only his head was visible, and for 
some distance at least the shrine hid him from view. But 
as he reached the shore the chanting ceased suddenly, 
and he knew that the drifting boat had been discovered. 
Cautiously he drew himself on the lowest step and, half 
hidden by the overhanging embankment, saw that the 
procession had drawn together in puzzled consultation. 
An angry hand was raised in command, and presently a 
young man separated himself from the rest and, wading 
out into the shallows, drew the boat ashore. Five priests 
entered and were rowed out swiftly to the shrine, while 
those remaining took up the interrupted chant, whose 
monotonous melody came with the breeze across the 
waters. 



THE AWAKENING 159 

"Fair shines the light of morning, behold 
Dyaus awakens us to toil ; along the path of 
eternal order goeth the goddess, arrayed in 
glory, and extendeth in the east gleaming 
till she filleth earth and sky. Praise be to 
thee, daughter of Heaven 1" 

Hurst listened, tense and motionless. He saw the 
white-robed priests enter the shrine, and ground his teeth 
in the violence of his suspense. To him who loved her 
it seemed inevitable that they should see that a change 
had come upon her, that the miracle of her awJJtening 
had beea accomplished. But no sign was given. Again 
the priests came out into the light, and he saw her in the 
midst of them, walking with the mechanical precision of 
a dreamer, her hands folded on her breast, her face lifted 
to the cloudless sky. For a moment, while her escort 
reentered the boat, she stood alone, a slight pathetic 
figure, yet regal in unconscious dignity, and the chant 
upon the shore grew louder as though in greetii^. But 
a new note had crqjt into the monotony of the priestly 
soi^ — and in the pure calm of the morning there stirred 
something that was evil, a sultry ugly breath of oriental 



The man crouching in the shadow heard it, as he 
heard the words, and he half started upright, his 
hands clenched, his face black with an impotent rage 
that forgot caution. But though his shadow fell clean- 
cut upon the water, he passed unnoticed. The proces- 
sion, bearing Sarasvati upon a golden palanquin, re- 
formed and returned slowly to the sanctuary. Hurst fol- 
lowed it with his eyes ; his sight, sharpened by knowledge. 



/ 



i6o THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

saw what she saw — ^the vile and hideous reliefs upon the 
temple pillars, the cunning sensual faces of her priests; 
his ears heard with her ears of unsullied innocence. And 
in that moment of loathing and despair he remembered 
his own question, "Will she awake ?" and the professor's 
answer, "Not if the dear God is merciful ;" and for the 
first time understood the full magnitude and significance 
of the words. He had ignored the warning. In his 
boundless egoism he had awakened her — ^to this, and to 
this he had left her in his cowardice and weakness. 

Roused by a storm of unreasoning self-contempt and 
love, he sprang up the remaining steps, with no plan, save 
the one not to leave her in the hands of these priestly 
satyrs. But as he reached the level of the temple courts, 
the doors of the sanctuary clanged to, and the chanting 
passed into sudden mysterious silence. The change 
brought him to his senses ; he knew that he was alone, and 
that against him were ranged the hatred and religious 
fanaticism of a whole people. Already he had trespassed 
— against the sacred law of non-interference which alone 
safe-guarded his race. He dared go no farther, and as he 
stood there, torn between passion and judgment, the quiet 
about him was unexpectedly broken. 

"The Sahib bathes early in the sacred pool,'* a voice 
said behind him. He turned, recovering his calm instant- 
ly as he saw the man standing by the water's edge. A 
quick instinctive recognition of danger warned him, and 
he drew himself up with the natural hauteur of the white 



man. 
it 



Rama Pal, the Christian, visits the temple of his 



THE AWAKENING i6i 

fathers," fie said, with the ironical indifference born of his 
emergency. The convert bowed his head. He wore the 
ordinary native costume, and against the background of 
ruined oriental splendor his handsome inscrutable face 
and graceful figure stood out in harmonious complete- 
ness. In the mission house he had been a disturbing 
discordant element, here he became the living personifi- 
cation of the temple and of all that for which it stood — 
the spirit of a race and a great religion. 

"The Temple to the Unknown is beautiful at dawn," he 
said, ignoring the Englishman's veiled taunt, "and it is 
well for the Sahib that his faithful servant, and no other, 
has seen him, else might it have fared ill with the Sahib 
and with his people." 

"A faithful servant?" Hurst queried significantly. 

"Even so. Sahib," was the smooth answer. 

"Whither, then, have they borne her?" Hurst de- 
manded. 

"Of whom speaketh the Sahib ?" 

"Of her whom we have seen carried amidst the priests 
into the sanctuary." 

Rama Pal's eyes became blank and lightless. 

"Sahib, I have seen no priests. The sanctuary stands 
surely empty," he answered. 

For a long minute European directness confronted 
the matchless cunning of the native — and yielded. Rama 
Pal had not flinched. His face retained its stony intent- 
ness, and David Hurst's raised hand fell to his side. 

"You have lied," he said. "You have seen what I have 
seen." 



i62 THE DAUGHTER OF. BRAHMA 

"Surely the Sahib has dreamed old dreams," was the 
answer. 

Hurst shrugged his shoulders and passed on. Rama 
Pal Jifted his hands gravely to his forehead in profound 
reverence and remained thus until Hurst had disappeared 
through the high gates of the gopura. 



*^^ 



CHAPTER VII 

MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL SUFFERS AN INTERRUPTION 

WHATEVER Mrs. Chichester undertook was a suc- 
cess; she had not the slightest idea of organiza- 
tion, and her restless energy was peculiarly ineffectual 
as far as direct results were concerned, but by some 
miracle or other her enterprises always arose triumphant 
out of chaos. Perhaps her luck, touched by her childish 
confidence, came to her rescue; or, as was more likely, 
her guests, roused by the hopeless confusion, grew accus- 
tomed to smoothing out situations and exerted them- 
selves more than wa^ their wont. As the judge ex- 
pressed it, "Mrs. Chichester kicked up the dust, and other 
people had to sweep it away," which metaphor was ad- 
mirably descriptive. 

On the occasion of the ''Combined Bazaar and Dance 
Given on Behalf of the Famine Fund," the dust had 
been raised to some effect. A huge marquee had 
been put up in the colonel's garden, and the elab- 
orate arrangements were such that the most sanguine 
questioned the possibility of covering so much as the 
expenses. Everybody had been invited — officers and offi- 
cials from neighboring stations, whom Mrs. Chichester 
was "putting up" at the extreme inconvenience of her 

163 



i64 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

family ; civilians whom nobody knew, and even rich 
Eurasians, whom nobody wanted to knew. And in the 
midst of this heterogeneous, somewhat hostile crowd Mrs. 
Chichester moved like an innocent beneficent spirit, in- 
troducing lifelong enemies, husbands to their wives, and 
engaged couples to each other, with a cheerful vagfueness 
which left the victims breathless — either with indignation 
or laughter. Finally, as was always the case, a general 
good-tempered acceptation of the situation supervened 
and Mrs, Chichester surveyed the scene with the con- 
sciousness of having added another triumph to her list. 

The dancing had already begun when Judge Hamilton 
arrived in his ramshackle buggy. Having thrust the 
charge of the vehicle and the weary-looking quadruped 
upon the first available syce, he made his way straight to 
the drawing-room of the bungalow, where the remnants 
of the bazaar were still being displayed for the benefit of 
the unwary. Diana Chichester, who had been left in 
charge, immediately seized upon him. 

"YouVe got to buy something," she said firmly, "other- 
wise the family is ruined. What will you have? — ^a 
poker-work cigar-box, or a handworked table-cloth? — 
both equally fabulous ; you can take your choice." 

"Thanks." The judge looked dismally at the two for- 
lorn articles offered for sale, "I don't think I care much 
for them," he said. "I wanted something handsome — 
expensive." 

"They're all expensive," Diana retorted grimly. 
"What about this?" She produced a fine gold necklace 
and dangled it in the light. "Mother wheedled it out of 
some native prince of her acquaintance, and if it isn't sold 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 165 

he will be offended, so that poor father is faced with the 
prospect of buying it himself. As he has already had to 
pay ransom on his own cigar-box, you might come to his 
rescue." 

"It looks pretty," the judge admitted. "What's the 
damage?" 

"Thirty rupees." She looked laughingly into his face, 
but he did not flinch. 

"It's a bargain," he said, and produced his purse. 
"Diana, where is Mrs. Hurst?" 

"Somewhere in the marquee. An old civilian has got 
hold of her. You had better go to the rescue." 

"Thanks. After that doubtful compliment, I think I 
will. Won't you come, too?" 

She shook her head. 

"I must give the poker cigar-box another chance. Be- 
sides, Dick Hatherway is coming over for me in a few 
minutes." 

"Humph!" said the judge. Without further observa- 
tion he pocketed his purchase and made his way briskly 
across the path that separated the bungalow from the 
marquee. In spite of his bouyant bearing, he looked 
unusually ill and haggard as he stood beneath the arti- 
ficial light, gazing over the heads of the dancing couples 
as though in search ofi some one. The unbroken stifling 
heat had told upon him, as it had indeed told upon most 
of the gay, seemingly unwearied crowd, but, like them, 
he gave no sign, and his step, as he laveered across the 
floor, was light with vitality. He found Mrs. Hurst 
seated in a flower-banked alcove, which opened out into 
the garden, and on the judge's arrival, the bald-headed 



it 



i66 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

commissionary who had been entertaining her took a 
somewhat hasty departure. The judge's manner, in point 
of fact, had been courteously discouraging, and he now 
accepted the vacated chair with an air of conscious victory. 

"I have always possessed the knack of getting people 
to go," he said. "You don't mind, Jean? You see, I'm 
a privileged person to-day, and consider I have a right 
to be officious. Say you're pleased to see me." 

She nodded, her eyes fixed absent-mindedly in front of 
her. 

'Of course I am. Why are you so late?" 

'A crowd of natives stopped me — z piteous-looking 
crowd, and not particularly friendly. There's a whole 
swarm of them outside in the compound, watching. I 
wonder what they think of it all?" 

Mrs. Hurst glanced over the barrier of flowers into the 
darkness. Everywhere there was a noiseless indefinable 
movement, and once a sharp shrill cry rose above the 
satiating sweetness of the valse. She winced as though 
the sound hurt her, but her face returned instantly to 
its normal composure. 

"Think of what ?" she asked. 

"Of our European ideas of charity," he said. "They 
are famishing, and they see us dance. The contrast no 
doubt strikes them." 

"You think the business a mistake?" 

He nodded. 

"It blots out years of self-sacrificing, even heroic labor 
on their behalf. They are like children. They hate the 
doctor who cures them, and they have no understanding 
at all for our European compromises between virtue and 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 167 

pleasure. The fact that we are eating and drinking for 
their future benefit is not clear to them. They are hun- 
gry — ^that is the salient feature in their logic." 

Mrs. Hurst remained silent for a moment. A faint 
sarcastic smile played about her lips. 

"One day their logic will improve," she said, "but I 
doubt if their opinion of our methods will alter much. 
They will see that our charity is a mask for pleasure- 
seeking or self-glory ; that we who teach them Christian 
love hate each other as cordially as do their hundred and 
one sects, and when they have made that and a few 
other discoveries, our prestige will not be worth a breath." 
She made a little careless gesture. "I live in a glass 
house and throw stones," she said. "But I am at least 
frank about my own fallibility. I am not charitable — 
or particularly Christian. 

"No," the judge admitted. 

She laughed with a genuine delight. 

"I ought not to be flattered by such an unqualified 
agreement. Of whom or of what were you thinking?" 

"Of David," was the grave answer. 

Her face hardened. 

"What of David?" 

"He knows you hate him. He told me the other day 
that he heard what you said to me some twelve years ago, 
and I know that it cut deep. He's your own son, Jean, 
and I have every reason to fear he is going wrong." 

She drummed impatiently with her fingers on the arm 
of her chair, but the judge met her frown without 
wavering. 

"What do you expect me to do?" she demanded. 



i68 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



"What any woman in your place would do." 

"But I am not *any woman'/' Suddenly her frown 
melted, and she laid her hand lightly on his arm. "You 
want me to control him," she said. "I can't — it wouldn't 
even be fair, and I haven't the right. I have no feeling 
which would justify such an interference. He is heavily 
handicapped, and since I have no affection to offer, I 
must at least leave him his entire freedom. Fortunately, 
I can do so with an easy conscience. Our name does not 
depend upon him — ^if it did, I should act diflferently." 

The judge sighed. 

"I've been interfering again — malgre moi, as the 
French say," he observed ruefully. "However, as I*m 
privileged, I suppose I can indulge in luxuries." 

She looked at him with a quiet amusement. 

"What is this 'privilege' you are talking about so 
much ?" she asked. "Is it your birthday ?" 

"Not my birthday, exactly — ^but a birthday." He drew 
out the gold chain and laid it clumsily in her hand. "I 
rescued that for you out of the bazaar — as a souvenir/' 
he said. 

"Of what?" 

"We met for the first time thirty years ago,'* He ex- 
plained simply. 

There was a moment's silence. She toyed thoughtfully 
with the gift, and the man beside her watched her, his 
small blinking eyes very bright. Also there was a smile 
about his mouth which only a close observer would have 
noticed as being somewhat too persistent. 

"I remember now," she said, and looked at him with a 
critical intentness that appeared to note every crease 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 169 

and fold in his round somewhat puffy face. "It was at 
the Hunters' dinner-party," she went on musingly. "You 
were different in those days, Judge. I have a recollection 
of a very fiery young man who said very little, but looked 
unutterable things. In my girlish vanity it never oc- 
curred to me that you probably looked the same at every 
one, and I was terrified that you were going to fall in 
love with me." 

"Well, by some miracle I escaped the temptation," the 
judge returned placidly. Then, as though to change the 
subject, he indicated Diana Chichester and Hatherway, 
who were crossing the empty floor in the direction of the 
exit. "Diana has grown an unsually lovely girl," he 
said, "and of course Hatherway is head over ears in love. 
They make a handsome couple — " 

Mrs. Hurst rose abruptly. Her eyes had wandered 
back to the compound, and suddenly the whiteness of her 
face had become deathly. 

"Take me away from here," she said in a low tone of 
suppressed excitement. "I don't know what is the mat- 
ter with me — ^those natives constantly moving in the 
dark irritate me — " She saw his face of troubled as- 
tonishment and recovered herself with an effort. "I beg 
your pardon — ^you were speaking of Diana and Hather- 
way? What, match-making, Judge?" She laughed. 
"Diana Chichester is like me," she said. "She will only 
marry a remarkable man — ^and Hatherway is not remark- 
able." 

That fact was one which Hatherway himself had begun 
to realize, and almost at that identical moment. He had 
danced with Diana Chichester, and he danced well, and 



170 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

SO long as his arm supported her, so long he felt her 
equal. Like most Englishmen of his class, he excelled 
in all things physical, taking a sheer unconscious delight 
in his own strength and health, conscious, too, in an 
inoffensive way, of a well-built figure and a handsome 
face. Nor in the normal course of his life had he ever 
felt particularly troubled by the knowledge that his men- 
tal abilities did not rise above the average. The matter 
rarely occurred to him, and never depressed him. He 
was popular in his regiment, he performed his duties with 
punctual efficiency, he did not believe in works of su- 
pererogation, and among men, even clever men, he held 
his own. 

But he was discovering that nothing is more or- 
dinary than an ordinary man in the presence of an 
unusual woman, and for the simple reason that, whereas 
men among themselves tacitly accept a plane on which 
their varying intelligences are equally at home, a woman 
of character never sinks, even for the sake of congenial- 
ity, below her own level. This peculiarity, which makes 
the sex a valuable moral force but an occasionally un- 
comfortable social factor, was very prominent in Diana 
Chichester's character. She was gracious and kind; she 
listened to Hatherway's conversation with an attention 
which would have deceived most men, but Hatherway 
was in love and he knew that she was unconsciously con- 
descending to him. 

She stood at his side, fanning herself and watch- 
ing the moving lights on the road, and when her 
eyes rested on him for an instant, it was always with 
that expression of friendly vagueness which was the chief 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 171 

point of resemblance between Mrs. Chichester and her- 
self. The expression warned him, but in the half light 
of the garden her beauty and, above all, the charm of her 
personality, at once vigorous and feminine, swept him off 
his feet. The touch of romantic sentimentality, which is 
as English as it is unacknowledged, had been awakened 
by the music, the soft mystery of the Indian night, per- 
haps a little by Mrs. Chichester's "charity champagne," 
and suddenly he lost his head, and immediately afterward 
his nerve. What he meant to say had been written clearly 
enough in his mind — ^what he really said was confused 
and stumbling, a bald and yet pathetic confession of a 
long-standing devotion. When the stream of his broken 
eloquence ran dry, as it did very quickly, he found that 
he was holding her hand and that she was looking at him 
with an objective interest, which, had he known it, had 
orice held back David Hurst from a culminating folly. It 
calmed him, instantly and painfully, but he retained her 
hand, striving, according to his instinct, to hold physically 
what his mind and soul had failed to touch. 

"I know I have been a fool to say an)rthing," he fin- 
ished, with a new humility. "I can see by your face what 
you are going to answer — ^but don't say it, Di! I've 
quite understood — it would only hurt us both, and I 
would rather think that nothing had happened — ^and that 
I had still some hope." He smiled courageously at her. 
"For I shall go on hoping — ^and trying, Di. It would be 
trite of me to say that I'm not worthy of you — I don't 
think any man is worthy of a woman like you — ^but my 
love is an honest clean thing, and that is perhaps as 
much as even the best can offer you." 



172 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"I think it is/' she answered gravely. "But you look 
at things from the wrong standpoint, Dick. You talk 
as though we women sat on some sort of a pedestal, 
watching a varying procession of offers pass before us, 
of which we must inevitably choose one. I don't want to 
choose — I have not the slightest desire to marry — at any 
rate, not for the pure sake of marrying. I am very inter- 
ested in life and in myself, and the other interests which 
some women seem to need are not necessary to me. I 
have my books and the world. I want nothing more." 

"A woman who does not marry — " Hatherway began 
doggedly. 

" — misses Her vocation," Diana concluded, laughing. 
"I wonder^ my dear Dick, how you men would like it if 
we planted a vocation before you — chimney-sweeping, 
for instance — and told you categorically that that was 
your business in life, and that if you didn't accept it you 
were running against your destiny? You would protest 
vigorously — ^as I protest. The idea takes away all free- 
dom—rail individuality — ^and turns us into a herd of 
sheep." 

"Do you mean that you will never marry, then?" Hath- 
erway demanded. He was watching her eagerly and 
saw a reflective frown gather on her brows, but no 
dreaded sign of embarrassment. 

"If ever I meet a man whose personality completes my 
own and who dares to live his own life, I will marry him 
— ^provided he asks me," she said. 

"'Dares to live his own life'?" Hatherway echoed. 
"What do you mean, dear? Do I not live my own life?" 

She shook her head in Her decided way. 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 173 

"You live the life of your kind," sHe said. "In your 
work, amusements, manners, dress, ambitions — every- 
thing, you jog-trot behind custom, and if you had an 
idea different from that of your fellows, you would be 
ashamed of it and suppress it at once. The ideal of the 
average man is the hall-marked mediocrity, and I am 
mediocre enough myself to be heartily sick of the virtue." 

Dick Hatherway flushed under the energy of her scorn, 
and suddenly, as was her wont, she repented. 

"You must not mind anything I say, Dick," she said 
kindly. "I don't know why, but I am always rude to 
people when they propose to me — I suppose, because I 
hate hurting them." 

"That sounds as if it was an every-day occurrence," he 
said, taking a rueful satisfaction from the possibility. 

"It isn't, though!" she retorted. "I have only ex- 
perienced one other, and to this hour I can't make out 
whether even that was genuine." 

"I wonder who it was !" he meditated. 

"You would never guess. And in the meantime, while 
you are trying, we might go down the garden. The heat 
is stifling and somehow the music and the people make 
it worse." 

He offered her his arm. Her determined friendliness 
helped him to master his pain and disappointment, and 
though it was obvious that what was his first tragedy 
was to her little more than an episode, already half for- 
gotten, he took comfort. Honest love is often blessed 
with the confidence of virtue, and Hatherway was in- 

m 

tensely honest. Moreover, without being conceited, he 
knew that he was what Kolruna called "a brilliant 



174 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

match", and as it is constitutionally hard for any man to 
realize that he is not wanted, it was for the popular young 
officer almost an impossibility. Nevertheless, he was suf- 
ficiently depressed to find conversation difficult, and they 
reached the gates of the compound almost in silence. The 
crowd of native watchers had increased. By the light of 
the two lanterns on either side of the entrance they caught 
what might have been a glimpse out of Dante's Inferno — 
a sea of faces, hollow-cheeked and wild-eyed, which 
flashed for an instant into the yellow circle, then van- 
ished into the darkness, giving place to others, different 
of features but alike in their expression of fanatic exal- 
tation. And with all this unresting confusion of move- 
ment there was scarcely a sound. The music from the 
marquee alone provided a mocking incongruous accom- 
paniment. Involuntarily, Hatherway stopped short. 

"I don't think we had better let them see us," he said. 
"I don't much like the look of them. The famine has 
begun to pinch, and they seem to be excited about some- 
thing or other. Let us go back." 

"I am not afraid," she said. 

"But I am — for you," he retorted. "Besides, our ap- 
pearance might irritate them, and we haven't the right 
to run the risk, if only for the sake of the others." 

She yielded at once to his better judgment, and they 
were about to retrace their steps when Hatherway him- 
self hesitated, arrested by a sound at once familiar and, 
in the peculiar stillness of their immediate siu'roundings, 
alarming. Diana glanced into his face. 

"What was that?" she asked. 

He shook his head. 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 175 

"I don't know," he answered. "Some fool or other has 
let off a squib, or something." He tried to hurry ber 
pace, but she hung back resolutely. 

"Dick, you're not telling the truth. That was a pistol- 
shot, and I can hear horse's hoofs — at a gallop — " 

"Come!" he commanded with the sharpness of con- 
trolled anxiety. But she wrenched her arm free and 
faced about. The beat of hoofs was now distinctly audi- 
ble, and suddenly, as though caught in the g^ip of a whirl- 
pool, the shifting crowd on the highroad swirled round, 
then broke and flung itself back on either side. An in- 
stant later, a horseman burst recklessly through their 
midsf, and turning into the gateway drew rein with a 
sharpness which brought the animal to its haunches. 

"Who is there? What! — ^Diana, you! — Hatherway?" 

Diana Chichester ran to the horse's side, and laid her 
hand on the saddle, looking up into the rider's face. 

"David !" she exclaimed. 

He was scarcely recognizable. He had lost his helmet, 
and the black hair lay clotted in blood and dust on his 
forehead. His eyes stared down at her, and then passed 
on to Hatherway with a glance of somber comprehension. 

"Go back to the bungalow," he said curtly. "Hather- 
way, where is Colonel Chichester ?" 

"In the marquee." 

"Go and fetch him. Say it is of the utmost impor- 
tance." 

Hatherway raised his eyebrows. Like most men on 
the station, he was inclined, if quite unconsciously, to 
question Hurst's right to exist. An order from him was 
intolerable. 



176 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"I think you Had better go yourself, my dear fellow," 
he said coolly. 

"Very well, I will." 

Hurst urged his horse forward. The movement was 
so sudden that Diana Chichester was nearly thrown to 
the ground, and with a curse Hatherway caught her and 
for an instant held her, 

"The boor !" he said between his teeth. 

Diana freed herself. 

"I'm not sure that the epithet does not apply else- 
where,*' she said sharply. "Didn't you see that he was 
wounded ? Come." 

They reached the entrance of the marquee only a mo- 
ment after Hurst had swung himself to the ground. But 
he did not look at them. He thrust aside the intervening 
servant and reeled rather than walked into the crowded 
tent. A dance had just ended. A gorgeous picture of 
bright uniforms and gay dresses spread itself before him, 
and he stood there an instant unnoticed. Then Mrs. 
Chichester saw him and uttered a smothered scream. A 
hundred eyes were turned in his direction. He paid them 
no heed. He had caught sight of the colonel, and went 
straight across the floor, his spurs jmgling softly in the 
sudden complete silence. Involuntarily the dancers drew 
back from him. He was covered with dust and the blood 
of the wound on his forehead had begun to trickle down 
his cheek. Moreover, there was something resolute and 
ruthless in the carriage of his square shoulders which 
seemed to thrust aside all interference. 

"I am sorry to interrupt, Colonel Chichester," he said 
in an undertone, "but I must speak to you at once." 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 177 

The little soldier twisted the end of his mustache. In 
the first moment he had been inclined to share what was 
no doubt the general opinion — ^namely, that Hurst was 
the worse for drink. He had heard enough ugly rumors 
to make the supposition justifiable, but the sight of blood 
was for him more eloquent than his suspicion. 

"What is it?" he asked. "If there is any trouble, we 
might as well hear it at once." 

"The native quarter has broken out/* Hurst answered. 
"Some spy must have betrayed the existence of the re- 
serve stores, and the priests have done the rest About 
a thousand armed men surround Kolruna, and they are 
only waiting for the signal from the hill temple to begin 
the attack." 

"How do you know?" Chichester demanded. 

"Professor Heilig, disguised as a yogi, was present at 
a meeting of the leaders. He was discovered and barely 
escaped with his life. He managed to reach his own 
bungalow, where I happened to be waiting for him, and 
lies there at present, badly wounded." 

The colonel glanced sharply around him. There were 
white faces in the group which had gathered about Hurst, 
and one woman, new to Indian life, had uttered a little 
hysterical scream. His own face was blank. That same 
morning his regiment had gone into camp five miles out- 
side Kolruna, and he himself had only come over for the 
evening. The fact was known to everybody present. 

"A message must be sent at once — " he began. 

"You will find that next to impossible. Your bungalow 
is surrounded. The rebels have chosen their moment — " 

The colonel interrupted with an oath and a low murmur 



178 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

of alarm came from those immediately in the vicinity of 
the farthest comer of the tent. 

"The regiment is on its way," Hurst finished calmly. 

"Who gave the alarm?" 

Hurst bowed. 

"You ? You said it was next to impossible " 

Hurst shrugged his shoulders. 

"Damn it, sir," said the colonel vigorously, "I'm proud 
of you !" He held out his hand, but Hurst seemed not to 
see it or to hear the wave of applause which spread 
around him. 

"As far as I know, nothing will be done before mid-^ 
night," he said. "Then — ^unless it can be prevented — 3, 
beacon will be lighted on the hill and the attack begun. 
But I hope by that time the regiment will have arrived. 
At any rate, I thought it best to warn you, so that in case 
of the worst happening you would at least be prepared." 

Chichester nodded. His eyes were bright with the joy 
of battle. 

"Gentlemen, I should be glad if you would join me for 
a few minutes in my bungalow," he said loudly. "While 
we are making our arrangements, the ladies will keep up 
the appearances. There must be no sign that we are 
afraid. The music can begin again." 

He gave a sign to the bandmaster, and the strains of 
the latest Viennese valse broke the straining silence. 
David Hurst touched the colonel on the arm. 

"I should be grateful to you if you would lend me your 
horse," he said. 

"My horse ! What the devil for ?" 

Hurst's mouth was grim and set. 



MRS. CHICHESTER'S BALL 179 

"My beast is done for, and I have a long way to go/* 
he said. 

"David, my good fellow, are you mad? You are 
wounded, and — " 

"It is nothing — ^but it is imperative that I should go 
back. Have I your permission ?" 

"Yes — but in heaven's name, wait — " 

"I have not a moment to lose." 

He turned on his heel and confronted Hatherway. That 
young officer's face was flushed with excitement and 
honest regret. He, too, held out his hand. 

"I owe you an apology. Hurst," he said, "and I beg of 
you — ^let me go for you wherever you have to go. I am 
fresh and unhurt, and — " 

David Hurst pushed him gently on one side. 

"What I have to do I must do myself," he said. 

He went back the way he had come, and again, though 
there were many in that crowd of men and women who 
would have been glad to give him a sign of their gratitude, 
no one spoke to him or held him back. His utter indiffer- 
ence to them held them paralyzed. At the door he passed 
his mother. She stood almost in his path, a proud erect 
figure, yet her, too, he ignored, and as he limped out into 
the darkness she turned and caught Judge Hamilton by 
the arm. 

'What is it ?" she asked sharply. "What has he done ?" 
1 fancy he has saved Kolruna," said the judge. 
^Where has he gone?" 
'Gk)d knows," was the answer. 

She looked at him and for the first time in her life saw 
that his face was bitter with reproach. 



"] 



fSRAPTER VIII 

THE RIGHTS 0£! FREEDOM 

PROFESSOR Heilig lay on his sofa by the window, 
alternately drank from the glass which Father Rom- 
ney had placed beside him, and cursed. He cursed 
in his own tongue with a fluency and guttural violence 
which seemed to give the lie to his ghastly face and the 
wide bandage across his breast. Once he shook his fist, 
but at whom was not clear, and Father Romney, who had 
been busy tearing up some white linen, gently intervened. 

"You will make yourself worse," he said reproachfully. 
"Lie quiet and try not to worry. What must be will 
be." 

"Infernal fatalist 1" Heilig muttered. Nevertheless his 
hands dropped to his sides, and he contented himself with 
frowning at the tall white clad figure seated beneath th^ 
lamplight. "Am I dying?" he asked abruptly. Father 
Romney looked up and a faint smile flashed over his tired 
face. 

"It does not sound like it,*' he observed, "but I can not 
guarantee anything unless you do as you are told. That 
chest wound may give trouble." 

"Ha I" Heilig heaved up his broad shoulders. **Had 
but the accursed dolt hit me on my head I should not He 
thus. My head he is thick like a sheep — ^hc would not 
haf felt It. Fool, utter fool that I am." 

i8o 



,THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM j8i 

"If Kolruna exists to-morrow it will be because you are 
less a fool than most of the inhabitants/' Father Romney 
remarked. 

".You think my interfering a proof of sense? I am 
not so sure. But that is not the trouble." He rolled 
his massive head impatiently from side to side. "Father, 
beware of young men with poetic temperaments and 
headstrong tempers — ^above all keep them from the wo- 
men folk. They are more dangerous than firebrands in 
a hay-rick, more unmanageable — *' He stopped, ap- 
parently for lack of a simile and pointed to the window. 
"Draw the curtain I" he commanded imperatively. "I 
will not be shut up like a rat in a trap." 

"Is it safe?" Father Romney questioned. 

"I know not and I do not care. I will see the hills. 
What hour is it?" 

"On twelve." 

Heilig lifted himself on his elbow. 

"In a few minutes they will throw the first torch," he 
muttered, "and in half an hour — Sarasvati, daughter of 
Brahma, will have entered Nirvana." 

Father Romney pulled aside the curtains and stared 
out into the darkness. His haggard face was white witU 
pity. 

"It sounds too impossible — ^too awful," he said. "Why 
should they do it — it is against themselves." 

"Siva is dead," Heilig answered. "He has died — ^so 
the priests say — ^because the foreigner has desecrated his 
altar and his wife. That alone is enough to drive a half- 
starved fanatic people to madness. For the rest — ^they 
haf revived an old custom — ^the widow follows her lord 



i82 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

on the funeral pyre, and then the trouble will begin." 

"And Hurst knows ?' 

"Yes — ^a thousand curses. I told him — ^I did not realize 
— ^and now he has gone — to save her — to his death. Ha ! 
— ^you saw that — ?" 

Against the pitch blackness a streak of fire shot up, then 
died down to a sullen glow that burned high above the 
line of the horizon like a monstrous star. Father Romney 
involuntarily clasped the crucifix to his breast. 

"Dear God I" he whispered. Heilig fell back. He 
was grinding his teeth and Romney, turning suddenly, 
saw that a single angry tear rolled down the German's 
cheek. 

"She was beautiful," Heilig muttered thickly, "beauti- 
ful — ^yes, and good — ^like the living spirit of her religion 
freed from the foulness and dross of human fancy. I 
lufed her — ^not as a woman but as an inspiration. And 
now they haf killed her — as they will kill him." He 
groaned. "I lufed him too-*he was not as the others — 
not clever like them — ^but with genius — the genius of im- 
agination, of intuition. It had been crushed and warped 
but I — I would haf brought it back to life. Do you be- 
lieve me ? Read the chapters he has written in our great 
book — haf they not the divine fire — haf they not inspira- 
tion ? Now it is too late — ^too late — " 

"With God it is never too late," Father Romney re- 
turned. 

"Ha, you believe in miracles ? I can not. But perhaps 
it is divine wisdom, working through character, which 
brings the end now. What could haf become of either of 
these two lost ones? The world has no place for them — " 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 183 

The sound of firing interrupted him. Father Romney 
came back from the window. He held his head with a 
serene dignity. 

"The fighting has begun," he said. "If the defense 
fails we shall be among the last to suffer." 

"But we shall not haf long to wait," Heilig answered. 
He held out his square hand and took the priest's long 
thin one and pressed it. "I could not wish to die in better 
company," he said. "It is a grand seal of our friendship, 
Romney. I am proud of it I haf loved you much. You 
haf understood my Wagner as no one else in this for- 
saken hole, and though you are a churchman you haf 
understood the htunan heart. See you — ^you die with a 
heathen but with a heathen who has loved beauty and 
goodness in all things — even in religion. Think you not 
— ^if your Gk>d exists and is worth anything that He will 
receive me?" 

"If my God exists He will receive you among the first," 
Romney answered. 

Heilig gave a hoarse unsteady laugh. 

"Assuredly, had you lived you would haf been ex- 
communicated," he said. "Listen, the firing has ceased. 
What is that ? It sounds like the wind." 

"Like hundreds of running footsteps," the priest an- 
swered. He had turned back to the window and again 
his hand tightened upon the silver crucifix. "Heilig," he 
said joyfully, **thank God, the rains have come at last 
—•our prayers are answered — God has heard us." 

"Too late I What is that?" 

"A dark flying mass — ^it is coming toward us. Heilig, 
commend your soul to God." 



i84 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

But the German struggled to his feet and, witK a re- 
volver in hand, swayed forward. 

"God will look after my soul without my commen- 
dation," he growled, "and if He is worthy of His creature 
He will like me all the better for giving a good account of 
myself. Stand back, Romney, I haf no grudge against 
these poor devils but if I must die I will haf my money's 
worth." The next instant he had fired but apparently 
without effect. The shadow which he had seen gliding 
up the veranda steps took the definite outline of a man 
who stumbled to Heilig's feet and lay there panting with 
exhaustion. No one followed him. The sound of hurry- 
ing feet died away in the distance. Silence enveloped 
them, unbroken save by the steady splash of the rain 
upon the parched and arid ground. 

Father Romney bent down and touched the crouching 
figure on the shoulder. 

"Who are you ?" he demanded. "What has happened ?" 

The half naked native raised himself upon his elbow 
and held out an imploring hand. 

"Shoot not, Sahib," he gasped faintly. "It is I, thy 
servant, I have come back to the Sahib." 

"Ha, come back haf you ?" Heilig laughed and reeled 
to his couch where he lay for a moment groaning for 
breath. "That means that you haf been beaten," he 
said, "otherwise you would only haf come back to murder 
me. What has happened, you black scoundrel?" 

"A wonder!" the Sudra answered, breaking into his 
own tongue with the volubility of hysterical excitement. 
"Lord Sahib, this night has the last avatar appeared 
before us — even Vishnu, mounted on a white horse, who 






JHE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 185 

rushed down upon us amidst fire and thunder. And in 
that moment the heavens opened and the rains flooded 
down upon us. The funeral fires died out. Then knew 
we that we had done evil and our strength was gone.' 

"And Sarasvati, thy goddess, what has happened?' 

The native lifted his dark terrified face from the ground 
and pointed back to the hills which now stood out dimly 
in the light of coming dawn. 

'The fires have gone out/* he whispered. "The shrine 
stands empty. Vishnu has taken the goddess with him 
into his paradise. We shall see her no more." 

"It is thy punishment." Heilig turned his suffering 
eyes with a significant glance to the priest. "Tell the 
fellow to be gone at once — ^back to his work," he said 
faintly. "I must not see his face again to-day." 

Romney repeated the order, and with a profound sa- 
laam the native glided back on to the veranda and from 
thence into the gray twilight. For a long minute the 
two men listened intently to the drop of the rain and the 
soft stirring of awakened nature. Beyond these sounds 
it seemed to them that they heard a footfall, slow, drag- 
ging and intermittent. 

"God has performed a miracle," Romney said under 
his breath. 

"A miracle of heroic human character," Heilig re- 
torted. He raised himself with a stifled groan upon 
his elbow and peered into the mom daylight which had 
begun to creep over the drenched garden. "See that the 
door is locked and that no one is watching," he ordered, 
and then in a hoarse triumphant whisper : "David, thank 
God!" 



i86 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

The lamp on the low table still burned. Its yellow 
reflection mingled with the ghostly gray of the morning 
and fell on David Hurst's face as he staggered into the 
room. He made no answer to the professor's greeting. 
He knelt down and gently disburdened himself of the 
slender figure which he had borne in his arms. The dark 
head rested wearily against his shoulder. He motioned 
to the professor. 

"One of your pillows I" he demanded briefly. 

Heilig threw him one. 

"And pull the curtains," he added. 

Romney obeyed. The daylight was now shut out. By 
the light of the lamp the three men looked down on the 
peaceful woman's face and then at one another. 

"You saved her?" Heilig asked in a whisper. 

"Yes." 

"How?" 

"They had lighted the pyre when I reached the temple. 
I was on Colonel Chichester's white charger and I fancy 
I looked more like a devil than a man — I felt more like 
one. I charged at them — I hadn't any plan, you under- 
stand, I was just frantic. It seems frenzy was in the air 
and I set fire to it. I rode down half a dozen of them, 
cursing at them like a fiend, and at that moment it began 
to rain. That was too much for them. They turned tail 
and fled. The rest was easy enough. I made a rush 
through the flames, which had subsided almost instantly, 
and managed to escape with her without much damage. 
Unfortunately, my horse had bolted. I had to make my 
way back on foot, keeping out of the road for fear some 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 187 

of the runaways should discover me — a, pretty difficult 
business." 

"Is she hurt r 

"I think not— only overcome by fatigue and alarm." 

Romney bent down, scrutinizing the unconscious face 
with the shy reverence of a child. 

"She is very beautiful/' he said wonderingly. 

Heilig uttered a strong Teutonic curse. 

"She is very wet," he retorted. "Get her some wine 
and some dry clothes — " He stopped, overtaken by the 
impossibility of his own suggestion. "David," he said 
slowly and emphatically, "you haf the talent common to 
genius — ^that of getting yourself and others into diffi- 
culties. There is not a woman on the premises." 

"Fetch the wine first," Hurst answered. "When she 
has recovered we shall be able to get together something 
or other. You have a collection of Indian shawls. They 
will do to replace these wet ones." 

"You haf at least resource," Heilig admitted grimly. 
"And afterward ?" 

With a gentleness which contrasted strangely with his 
stem blood-stained face Hurst lowered Sarasvati's head 
upon the pillow and for a moment bent over her in 
silence, carefully smoothing the black dank hair from 
her face and chafing the small hands between his own. 
She lay there like a princess out of some Eastern fairy 
tale. All the gorgeous insignia of her dignity had been 
massed upon her on the occasion of her martyrdom. The 
emeralds which he remembered clustered about her fore- 
head and about her waist gleamed the rope of rough-cut 



i88 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

rubies. On tHe slender fingers were rings of priceless 
antiquity. Cautiously he slipped them off and tossed them 
in a heap beside him. Then he looked up. "And after- 
ward ?" he echoed. "What do you mean ?" 

"The 'afterward' is very close to us and very threat- 
ening/' Heilig answered. "You haf saved the girl — ^but 
to what? If she is discovered here — or even in India — 
those to whom she belonged will never rest until she is 
either dead or back in their hands. And you, too, will be 
tracked down. That is the least that can happen. At 
the most there will be another and more determined 
rising, headed by the Brahmans whose secret stands the 
risk of exposure. If the goddess whom they have set up 
is proved an ordinary mortal their prestige will be 
shaken. They know it and will not stop at the most 
violent measures." 

"She must leave India," Hurst answered. 

Heilig threw up an exasperated hand. 

"Dear heaven — ^how simple! How shall she leave 
India, as what, with whom?" 

"With me, as my wife." 

There was a petrified silence. Hurst rose to his feet 
and confronted Father Romney. "You will marry us 
now — ^the moment she awakes," he said. The priest 
recoiled as though from a blow. Heilig had dragged him- 
self into a sitting position. 

'Junge, Junge, you are quite mad !" he burst out 

^Mad? Why mad? I love her — ^I have saved Ker 
from a certain death. She is mine." 

Heilig shook his head. 

"It's not that. If you marry her you make yourself 






' JHE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 189 

an outcast, you ruin yourself. Thinfc of your family, 
your name, mother. The whole world will be against 
you." 

"The whole world is against me. I am an outcast I 
marry an outcast. We shall face life together. I am 
free — I am responsible to no one." He turned with a 
stem resolute gesture to Father Romney. "Marry us I" 
he demanded. 

The priest held out a white protesting hand. 

"I can not even if I would," he said. "You are not of 
my faith." 

"I am of no faith. Hitherto I have believed in nothing 
— ^not even in God. But I will believe. You are an 
honorable man. I have learned to honor you. I will 
accept your teaching as a child — ^as she shall do. Accept 
me as a child — ^baptize us both into your church, Father 1" 
He stamped impatiently. "Are you a follower of Christ 
or of a lifeless rule ?'' 

"Of Christ, but you as well as I must have time." 

"I have So time." He pointed to his forehead. "I 
am wounded. The wound may be poisoned — you know 
these natives. If I am to die I will leave her with my 
name and with such private means as I possess. Pro- 
fessor, you shall be her guardian. Promise me you will 
give her your protection !" 

Heilig ran his hand through his disordered hair. 

"Dear God in heaven — ^yes — ^yes. But it is all im- 
possible — ^utterly impossible." 

"Nothing is impossible to men who have freed them- 
selves from the narrow conventions of their kind. It is 
your own teaching. You jeered at me for my slavish' ad- 



190 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

herence to the laws laid down for what you called the 
Dutzendmenschen. You preached freedom. I am free. 
I have made myself free. I demand the rights of free- 
dom. This is the woman I love — to whom I owe the 
salvation of my soul. Father Romney, you are a priest 
of that God who has given her to me. I believe in Him — 
I will believe in Him. Accept me. You dare not refuse 
a convert who comes to you at the hour of death. To 
all your rules there must be an exception — ^that of emer- 
gency." The priest looked at him steadily with a curious 
fire in his dark eyes, but he did not speak, and Hurst 
went on with increased passion. "You talk of the 
brotherhood of man — of us as being the children of God. 
How dare you reject me or this woman because respec- 
tively we are not of your blood or faith? You preach 
what you dare not act. What do I care? But I at 
least will dare to be what I am and to act as my will, my 
desire, dictates. To me this woman is my wife. Will you 
give me the blessing of God or will you not? If not then 
either I shall believe that you are a liar and your God a 
lie or I shall believe that 3rou do not know God and never 
knew Him." 
"Hush !" Heilig said softly. "She is awaking." 
All three were silent. Hurst knelt down by Sarasvati*s 
side and raised her head gently on his arm. Her eyes 
opened and she looked up at him without fear or wonder. 
The smile which dawned about her lips was one of most 
tender, most trusting recognition. 

"I knew that thou wouldst come," she whispered 
dreamily. "I was not afraid. When the fire began to 



JHE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 191 

rise up about me I was glad for I knew that thou wert 



near." 



"Sarasvati, where wert thou in all these long days ?" 

Her eyes closed for an instant. 

"In darkness and silence. They knew that thou hadst 
been with me. They threatened and cursed me. They told 
me that Siva, my Lord, had died and that I must follow 
him. They told me that I had brought misfortune on 
the land. It is not true ?" 

"It is not true," he answered. 

"And Siva is dead?" 

"He never lived — can stone images live or die?" 

Her eyes darkened with a moment's thoughtfulness, 
then she drew herself up with her head against his 
shoulder. 

"I am glad," she said simply. "His face frightened 
me. And now thou wilt never have to leave me?" 

"Never," he answered. "Thou art mine — ^my wife." 
He looked up and encountered Father Romney's eyes 
fixed on him. "Sarasvati, wilt thou accept me as thy 
husband according to the law and faith of my people?" 
he asked. 

She stirred, conscious for the first time that they were 
not alone, and freeing herself gently from Hurst's arms, 
she rose and confronted the two silent witnesses with a 
grave untroubled dignity. Longest of all her deep eyes 
rested on the professor whose white face flushed crimson 
under her steady questioning gaze. 

'Are these thy people?" she asked. 

They are my friends." 






192 THE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA 



"And thy faith r 
"Is in God." 



She turned to him. 

"Then is thy faith my faith," she said. "For in all the 
world there is but one God — Brahma, the All One." 

"We call Him by another name," Hurst said. He took 
her hands and drew her to him. "Wilt thou learn to 
know Him as we know Him, Sarasvati ?" 

"Surely has God as many names and as many forms 
as there are stars in heaven," she answered. **Why 
should I not know thy God, my beloved ?" 

Hurst threw a glance of fierce triumph at the priest 
who stood silently attentive. Heilig dropped back on his 
pillow with a grim satisfied laugh. 

"Verily, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings," 
he muttered. 

But Hurst paid him no heed. Once again he turned 
to the woman who watched him in grave wonder and his 
voice softened to a compassionate tenderness. 

"Once thou saidst that on earth there was no peace," 
he said. "Sarasvati, I am no god, but a man, and my 
world is a hard world. Art thou afraid ?" 

"I love thee," she answered, and said no more. 

It seemed as though in those three short words she 
had given the answer to every question, had laid bare 
the deepest secrets of her soul. And the three men were 
silent, overtaken by the awe which comes to those who 
stand on the threshold of a beautiful cathedral. Then 
Heilig brought his fist down with a thump upon bis 
covering. 
I "Marry them, Romneyl" he said. "Marry them, in 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 193 

God's name. They will break their necks, but what is 
that ? It is good — it is beautiful — ^it is worth it. We haf 
not the right to stop them. Marry them, I say r 

The priest laid his white hand on Hurst's shoulder. 

"You have counted the cost?" he said in English. 

Hurst did not turn. 

"There is no cost," he said. "I am free and 1/fiave 
chosen my own course — ^that is all. It remains for you 
to give me your answer." 

"I consent." 

Hurst swung around. 

"Your faith must be worthy of you," he said. 

Father Romney made no answer. His face was set 
and white, but his eyes gleamed with the fiery enthusiasm 
of the believer who feels the flame of his belief pass on 
to other souls. He motioned his two strange converts to 
kneel and in the quiet of the dimly lighted room the 
solemn service of acceptance into the Catholic Church 
began. Shorn of all pure ceremony and ritual it gained 
in dignity and there was something at once tragic and 
pathetic in the little group beneath the lamplight — ^the 
haggard blood-stained man with the dark resolute face, 
and beside him a woman of an alien race, exotic yet 
beautiful, still touched with the mystery of her life, her 
profound and wondering eyes lifted to the white-robed 
priest who stood before them, his hands clasped about 
the silver crucifix, his lips moving in silent prayer. 
Hdnrich Heilig lay on his couch and watched them. The 
grimly contracted brows and livid cheeks told that he 
suffered but he was also smiling with a curious tenderness 
free from all mockery. Though weakness constantly 



194 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

threatened to master him he never shifted his position 
until the last blessing had been pronounced over the 
strangely united pair. Then he fell back with a low 
gasping sigh and lay still, but apparently fully conscious, 
for an instant later his eyes opened. 

"See that your wife becomes dry clothed," he muttered. 
"The shawls are in the top drawer. See to it, Schafs- 

kopf4." 

Then he lay quite still. Romney came quietly to his 
side and bent over him. 

"He is asleep," he whispered. "Do as he says— or 
will you go straight home ?" 

Hurst shook his head. His arm still encircled Saras- 
vati's shoulders and she leaned against him with eyes 
half closed in happy exhaustion. 

"With your permission my wife will remain hidden 
here," he said. "At the earliest opportunity I shall start 
with her for England. Until then she will be safest with 
you. Are you willing?" 

"Perfectly." A faint smile flickered about the priest's 
grave mouth. "Having begun the business we must at 
least be thorough. My room is next door. It is at your 
wife's disposal. I shall give orders that no one is to 
enter it." 

Five minutes later, when David Hurst returned, he 
found that the curtains had been drawn back and that 
the judge stood at Father Romney 's side. In the dreary 
morning light he looked old and weary, and yet he came 
forward with his buo3rant step, both hands outstretched, 
his pale face lighted with an almost bo3rish enthusiasm. 

"Thank God youVe safe!" he said. "We've been in 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 195 

a perfect fever about you. Then somehow it occurred to 
us that you might be here and I came on ahead. But 
your roother is following, David, and Diana — ^and when 
they know for certain the half of Kolruna will be whirling 
around you. Thanks to you, the whole native affair 
has gone like a pricked bubble. We're proud of you, 
David — ^all of us — ^all of us." 

He laid emphasis on the last words and Hurst under- 
stood him but he said nothing. He looked at the judge's 
excited face, critically as a stranger might have done, and 
suddenly the elder man's expression grew grave. "But 
it's not that I have come about, David," he went on. 
"I think it better that I should tell you — I have news — 
it came last night during the ball — it's bad news — very 
bad news. Your cousin, Harry Hurst, is dead." 

David Hurst started slightly but gave no other sign. 
The judge laid an unsteady hand on the other's arm. 

"It's been a shock for everybody, David," he said. 
"The whole thing was so terribly sudden — a hunting ac- 
cident. We have no details — ^but Sir Lawrence is com- 
pletely broken — ^he is not even expected to recover. And 
your mother — ^you know what that means to her. You're 
everything now. David, you've got to be ever}rthing. 
You will bear the name alone. Thank God it came when 
it did." He did not explain what he meant, perhaps he 
felt an explanation unnecessary. Throughout he had 
spoken in quick broken sentences, a prey to an excite- 
ment which bore more the stamp of hope than sorrow 
and now he stopped altogether. He had seen Hurst's 
face and his jaw dropped. "David, what the devil is the 
matter? Are you laughing?" 



196 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



"I beg your pardon, my dear Judge, but fate is some- 
times very amusing even in her grimmest moments." 

"I don't understand. David, you're not going to bear 
a grudge. I mean you've got to stand by her. She has 
suffered and however bitter you may feel you haven't the 
right to draw back now when the chance is given you 
both to come together." 

Hurst interrupted him with a curt gesture. 

*'I have the right. But as it happens there is no ques- 
tion of right. Have you ever heard. Judge, that there 
is a *too late' in life ?" 

But the older man made no answer. 
' A carriage had driven up to the steps of the veranda 
and he turned and saw that Mrs. Hurst stood on the 
threshold. Her son had seen her also but he made no 
move to greet her. He drew back from the judge, as 
though intentionally isolating himself, and there was a 
brief painful silence. Professor Heilig had been aroused 
by the sound of voices. He lifted himself on his elbow, 
and looked from one face to the other with the intentness 
of a man conscious that he is witessing a drama whose 
course lies beneath the surface, and when he saw Diana 
Chichester standing in the background he gave vent to 
a sound that was half a groan and half a laugh. Mrs. 
Hurst came slowly forward. She was still in evening 
dress but a black cloak had been flung about her shoul- 
ders, giving her an appearance of profound mourning 
which harmonized tragically with her face. For the first 
time in his life David Hurst confronted the woman who 
had hidden behind the mask of immovable indifference. 
Grief, deep-rooted and corroding, had been steadily at 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 197 

work throughout these years of seemingly placid comfort 
and content. He saw it now in the lines which in a 
single night of self-abandonment had drawn themselves 
about the unsteady mouth; he saw it above all in the 
eyes, heavily shadowed and dim with the long checked 
tears which now in the hour of weakness, could not 
flow. For him there was something terrible, inexpressibly 
repugnant in this collapse of her strength and will. She 
laid her hand on his arm and he held himself rigid. He 
did not look at her but at the door of the adjoining room. 
*T)avid — *' she began uncertainly, "we have come to 
see if you were safe. I could not speak to you last night 
but I saw that you were hurt I hope it is nothing 
serious ?'* 

"I think not,** he answered. "A mere flesh wound. I 
believe there is now no cause for alarm." 

Her brows contracted. He felt that she was fighting 
desperately. 

*'You did a very courageous thing," she said in the 
same stilted way, "a thing which any Hurst might be 
proud of. I am very glad. I feel that the name is in 
safe hands. It is my only comfort." She stopped. What 
she had said was at once a confession and an apology 
and very pitiful. Her son did not answer and she went 
on falteringly, "You have heard the news? You know 
that soon you will be the only one left ?" 

**Yes," he said. Still he did not look at her and 
aroused by his expression she turned in the direction in 
which he was gazing. The door of the next room had 
been quietly opened and a woman stood on the thresh- 
old. She wore the gorgeous costume of a high-caste 



198 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Hindu and though her features were noble and beautiful, 
even judged by European standards, Mrs. Hurst saw that 
they were unmistakably oriental. Possibly she saw more 
than that, for she recoiled and for an instant the two 
women studied each other in startled antagonistic silence, 
arrested by the knowledge that their ways had crossed. 

"Who is this ?" Mrs. Hurst demanded. Her whole tone 
had changed. It rang with an almost frantic appre- 
hension. David Hurst pushed past her and took the 
newcomer by the hand. 

"This is my wife, mother," he said. 

Judge Hamilton uttered an irrepressible oath. Then 
there was again silence. Involuntarily Diana took a step 
forward. Her eyes never left Hurst's face but they 
expressed neither horror nor disgust — only a deq) critical 
interest. 

"Since when ?'* Mrs. Hurst asked. 

"Since this morning." 

"By whom were you married?" 

"By Father Romney." 

"You have become a Roman Catholic?*' 

"Yes; have you any objection to make?" 

"None." She met his stern significant challenge un- 
falteringly, apparently umoved. "You are free and al- 
ways have been free," she said. Then she turned with a 
blind movement which betrayed her. "Judge, give me 
your arm. David and I have nothing more to say to 
each other and it is late. We must be getting home." 

The judge obeyed her. His face was shallow and he 
did not raise his eyes from the ground. David Hurst 
drew his wife closer to him. It was a movement sym- 



THE RIGHTS OF FREEDOM 199 

bolical of their future life. The Rubicon was crossed 
and they stood alone. Yet it was at that moment that 
Diana Chichester came to him. 

"You are a man, David," she said, "a brave man. 
Remember the promise I made you. I shall keep it" 

"Thank you," he answered. 

They looked each other in the eyes — for the first time 
perhaps with a full recognition of each other's worth. 
Then Diana's lips twitched with a dawning humor. 

"I must go now," she said quickly. "Whatever hap- 
pens I must be present when the bomb explodes on 
Kolruna but if there is an)rthing left of me I shall come 
this afternoon. You — ^your wife will need a woman." 

"I know," he said, "it's been worrying me. God bless 
you, Di." 

"Which God?" she questioned a trifle mockingly. 

"Our God." 

"Jesuit I'* She laughed, "Well, perhaps you're right. 
Anyhow, I shall come blessed or unblessed. Good-by." 

She did not offer him her hand but she bent forward 
and kissed Sarasvati on the forehead, then turned and 
hurried down the veranda steps. 



u 



BOOK III 



k* 



4- 



CHAPTER I 

DIANA DEaDES 

"XTO, Dick, it's no good. Fm tired, I*m off my form, 
1^ Fm off color, Tm an)rthing you like, but I can't 
play any more. Go and find some One else, there's a good 
fellow." 

Diana Chichester tossed her tennis racket recklessly to 
the far end of the lawn and then turned to her companion 
half-laughing, half-frowning. "And now I've lost my 
temper, too!" she lamented. 

Hatherway considered her with a grave solicitude. 

You've been like this for a long time, Di,'* he said. 
I don't know what's wrong with you, but you've made a 
plucky fight against it and now you look pretty well — 
worn out. You ought to go to the hills— or home. I'd 
prefer you to go home — for many reasons." 

"Why?" 

He moved uneasily. 

"I can hardly explain. It's a feeling of unrest. For 
the last few months there has been something in the air. 
The natives are too quiet — ^it makes me nervous.** 

"And you want to get me out of the fun ?" 

"I want to know that you are safe." 

"Nonsense. I love trouble. Now you have given me 
the bint, wild horses won't get me to stir.'' She laughed 

203 



u 
it 






204 (THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

I 

witK a real enjoyment "I believe you want to get rid 
of me." 

"You know I don't." He turned and walked at her 
side toward the colonel's bungalow. "I don't know how 
I should hold out without you — ^but, for one thing, I hate 
to see you like this. I wish to God I had the right to 
look after you." 

"Dick, is that another proposal?" 
The thirteenth," he said gravely and rather sadly. 
I know it's of no earthly use, but I want you to feel 
always that — ^well, that I'm here, if you want me. Will 
you ever want me, I wonder ?" 

She shook her head. 

"I don't think so, Dicky. I'm a person who likes to 
stand alone. I could only want people I — " 

"_Love?" 

"Yes." 

"And I shan't ever be among that number?" 

"No, Dicky." 

It was not unkindly said, but it was final. Dick Hath- 
erway straightened his shoulders ; there was a plucky at- 
tempt at a smile quivering at the corners of his mouth. 

"You're immensely patient with me, Di. I won't 
bother again — at least, I'll try not. By the way, I've 
something here that I thought might interest you." He 
dived into his pocket and produced a somewhat crumpled- 
looking envelope. "It's from a pal of mine," he ex- 
plained. "He has a hunting box at Steeple Hampton 
quite near the Hursts, and he knows all the village chat. 
I thought you might like to hear it." 



DIANA DECIDES 205 

They had reached the steps of the veranda and she 
turned quickly. The expression of weariness had passed, 
leaving her bright-eyed and alert. 

"An)rthing about David?" 

"Yes, a good deal." 

He spoke with an effort, but she had ceased to observe 
him. Nor did she look again at the letter which he held 
uncertainly toward her. 

"Of course I am interested. We haven't had news for 
months. Has he settled down at Hurst Court?** 

**Well — *' Hatherway gave a short laugh. *^I don't 
know whether one could strictly describe it as 'settling 
dowtf . It seems David has set the place by the ears. 
You see, no one knew much about him or an)rthing about 
his wife. In the old days no one guessed that fate was 
'going to sweep Sir Lawrence and Harry Hurst out of the 
field like that, and David passed pretty well unnoticed. 
Then, when it was given out that he was coming home 
from abroad, there was the usual hocus-pocus with flying 
banners and village bands. People expected him to be 
like all the other Hursts of Hurst Court — ^the real old 
style of English gentleman who would settle down with 
an English wife, and lead the correct English life. When 
they saw Lady Hurst they nearly turned tail. You know 
how nice and broad-minded we English people are, espe- 
cially when we have never moved outside our village. A 
Hindu woman is just a 'black woman' — " 

"Don't I" she interrupted passionately. "Surely any- 
thing so beautiful as Sarasvati — " 

"I'm putting It to you as the squire and the vicar see 



2o6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

it," he went on apologetically. "I know it's brutal, but 
that's their standpoint." 

"And David—?" she breathed. 

*T)avid slammed the ancestral doors in their faces. To 
all intents and purposes no one has seen either him or 
his wife since. They don't visit or receive visitors. 
Can't you imagine the hubbub? The whole county had 
been ready to dance round and thrust all their marriage- 
able daughters upon him — and now they can only sit 
round and gnash their teeth. It was a nasty blow." 

She made no comment. Her brows were knitted and 
her eyes, as they passed over the lovely garden, were 
full of pain. 

"It's winter in England now," she said at last, half to 
herself. "One can hardly imagine it — but the cold winds 
— ^the sleet and snow are there. What will David's wife 
do?" 

"Poor little soul I" said Hatherway with a blunt sym- 
pathy. 

"What will she do without her sunshine, her flowers, 
her temple ?" Diana went on. "What will she become in 
our bleak England?" 

Hatherway felt rather than heard the emotion in her 
voice. He bent his head, staring at the ground with a 
man's awkward recognition of tragedy. 

"And she can never come back," he said. 

"Never?" 

He looked up now, the soldier in him awake. 

"Not so long as we can prevent it. When Lady Hurst 
comes back to Kolruna we shall be wiped out. If ever 



DIANA DECIDES 207 

these cunning devils get to know the truth about their 
goddess I would not give a penny for our lives — ^no, nor 
for David's life, for all his fceing in England. These 
Brahmans work undergrounc^nd their mines are well 
laid and reach far." 

"They must never know the truth," said Diana Qii- 
chester with strong defiance. But Hatherway made no 
answer, and she took the letter from his hand. "May I 
read it?" she asked. 

"Of course." 

She left him standing there, gazing hungrily after her, 
and passed through the silk curtains into her own sitting- 
room. She was unconscious of her abruptness. The 
thoughts that had been roused in her seemed to lift her 
out of her surroundings, and for many minutes she stood 
motionless before her table, forgetful of the man she had 
left and of the letter which she still held unread. It was 
very quiet in the little room. A cool artificial dusk 
shrouded the dainty familiar objects, and there was a 
vague delicious scent of flowers in the air that seemed 
to be a very part of her thoughts. She thought of Saras- 
vati— -of that frail dream-like woman who had clung to 
her in those few days of straining anxiety, and of the 
man who had stood by her, dogged, resolute, indomitable, 
a man freed suddenly from the shackles of his own weak- 
ness. She saw his face clearly — ^and a moment later she 
saw Hurst Court and felt the raw gales of an English 
winter cut through her soul. How would it end — ^this 
union of the lotus and the northern storm-wind? She 
opened the letter and began to read, and when she had 



2o8 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

finished reading her brows were knitted over eyes thai 
had lost their clearness. Diana Chichester was not given 
to tears, and she brushed them impatiently away. 

"At least they are well out of danger," she argued with 
herself. "There are no underground mines at Hurst 
Court." And she laughed a little, the idea of anything 
so dramatic in connection with that gray prosaic build- 
ing being obviously ridiculous. Then she sat down and 
wrote to David Hurst himself. She wrote quickly, and 
after the first few lines the pain died off her face, yield- 
ing to the old cheerfulness, though the smile that hovered 
about her lips was not without a touch of self-mockery. 
Half-way over the third page she stopped. Her strained 
ear had caught a sound that was at once pathetic and un- 
familiar. She turned in her chair, brushing the fair hair 
from her forehead with a characteristic impatience. 

"Well, Pura, what is it?" 

The ayah stood on the threshold of the room, her head 
bent. 

"The Mem-Sahib asks for you. Missy," she said softly. 

"Very well. I will come. But why are you crying?" . 

There was no answer for a minute, but the young 
Hindu girl lifted her face and even in the half-light 
Diana saw that it was drawn and tear-stained. She rose 
and came across the room, still smiling slightly, for 
native grief is often childish enough. 

"Why do you cry ?" she repeated gently. "Is anything 
broken ? Has somebody scolded you ?" 

The girl made a gesture of apathetic protest. 

"Then has your lover found more beautiful eyes than 
yours, Pura?" 



DIANA DECIDES 209 

"He has gone," was the quick passionate answer. 

"Gone? Where r' 

"There — ^beyond the ocean — ^where is your home, 
Missy." 

Diana hesitated. For no reason that she could trace, 
her passing kindly interest had deepened to something 
more intense. 

"Who has sent him ?" she asked briefly. 

"How should I know. Missy? The evil had entered 
into him and he would not speak." The dark eyes flashed 
round the room as though seeking some hidden stealthy 
danger, and suddenly a slender trembling hand was laid 
on Diana's arm. "Missy, first the white holy men took 
him, and then came the hunger after his kind and caste. 
And after that — ^the Evil One. And now he has gone — 
gone — ^gone — " 

"He will come again." 

The stifled monotonous sobs ceased. The momentary 
flame of passion died down into the gloom and darkness 
of oriental fatalism. 

"He will come no more. Those who go over the sea 
come no more — " 

"Who was — this man ?" 

"Missy, they called him Rama Pal — ^but I know not — " 

Diana Chichester passed quickly out of the room. Sym- 
pathy was dead in her, engulfed in a nameless uneasiness. 
Rama Pal had gone to England. It was not unnatural 
that he should go. It had been prophesied — and he was 
a Christian — 3, Hindu peculiarly enlightened and cul- 
tured. There was no cause for fear. Nor was there any 
cause for fear in the peaceful native bazaar not a hundred 



2IO iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

yards from their compound gates. Yet Hatherway had 
expressed fear, and of late Colonel Chichester's brow had 
been dark with thought. Diana shook her head at her- 
self. 

"It's the heat," she said. "One gets nervy and stupid. 
But I shan't go to the hills." 

She found her mother in the drawing-room and in her 
element, administering tea and cool drinks to such way- 
farers as had dropped in to enjoy the pleasant haphazard- 
ness of her hospitality. Hatherway had gone, but his 
place had been more than filled by Mr. Eliot, who, red- 
faced and exhausted, was expounding lengthily on his 
day's work. He rose as Diana entered, offering her a 
ponderous late-acquired courtesy. 

"I've been telling your mother about a friend of yours, 
Diana," he said breathily. "I have just come from a visit 
to Professor Heilig." 

"Oh !" said Diana, helping herself to tea. The thought 
flashed through her mind that Professor Heilig was the 
one person she wanted to see at that particular moment, 
and involuntarily she glanced at her watch. 

"I found him ill and somewhat ill-humored," Mr. Eliot 
went on cheerfully, " — ^at least, he was ill-humored with 
me, but then our opinions often clash. I am afraid our 
German friend is not, strictly speaking, a Christian." 

"I like him," said Mrs. Chichester with happy disre- 
gard for the latter criticism. "He is so bearish and dif- 
ferent from other people. That's always something to 
be thankful for, isn't it? If everybody were like every- 
body and thought just the same things, life would be so 
dull." 



if 



DIANA DECIDES 211 

1 

Mr. Eliot coughed. He never felt quite at His ease 
with Mrs. Chichester, or sure of her orthodoxy. 

"Diversity of opinion is healthy," he said didactically, 
"as long as the right opinion has the last word. Pro- 
fessor Heilig's opinions are — ^are unwise." 

"What did you quarrel about?" asked Mrs. Chichester, 
increasingly interested. 

"It was about a pupil of mine — ^perhaps you remember 
him — z, very promising convert, Rama Pal by name. He 
has gone to England." 

Diana turned round sharply. 
You sent him ?" she questioned. 
In a sense, yes. That is to say — ^I felt it would be of 
inestimable advantage to his character if he could see a 
little of English life. But the funds were not forthcom- 
ing. Fortunately, a liberal-minded native gentleman 
came to the rescue, and Rama Pal is on his way." 

"Was it that which made Professor Heilig so angry?" 

Diana was looking fixedly at Mr. Eliot, and Mr. Eliot 
fidgeted in his chair. 

"Partly. And then he had an absurd objection to my 
having given Rama Pal a letter of introduction to David 
— Sir David, I should say. Professor Heilig is very nar- 
row-minded in some matters; Personally, I consider 
it is most important that natives going to England should 
get into good society, and Sir David's wife — " 

Mrs. Chichester put down her cup with a cheery clatter. 

"Oh, my dear, that reminds me!" she began impul- 
sively to the major's wife on the other side of the room. 
"Just think, I saw Mrs. Hurst this morning, and she has 
had a letter from David, and David's wife is — ^" She 



212 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

stopped abruptly. "But perhaps I oughtn't to say," she 
added naively, shocked at her own indiscretion. 

Diana glanced at her mother's pretty withered face, 
and then back at Mr. Eliot, 

"What did Professor Heilig say ?" she asked, as though 
there had been no interruption. 

Mr, Eliot grew scarlet. 

"My dear young lady, I would rather not repeat. The 
professor is very violent and it is to be hoped, as a for- 
eigner, he does not always value his words. His lan- 
guage was not fit for a drawing-room." 

Mrs. Chichester clapped her hands. 

"Now you have got to tell us!" she exclaimed. "I 
must know," 

Diana, who had gone to the door, looked back over her 
shoulder. 

"I know what the professor said," she remarked with 
grim wisdom, and went out. Her suddenly made reso- 
lution took her straight to her father's room, misnamed 
the sanctum, since it was the one place where Mrs. Chi- 
chester was sure of finding some one to talk to. Diana 
went in without knocking. Colonel Chichester, busy with 
a military report, looked up with an expression of mild 
exasperation. 

"My dear, I really can't be bothered — " 

"It's all right, father. I shan't keep you five minutes. 
You know I keep my word." 

Colonel Chichester sighed. 

"Yes, I know, my dear. What is it?" 

"I wanted to ask you if you knew that Mr. Eliot has 
sent Rama Pal to England — ^and to Hurst Court ?" 



DIANA DECIDES 213 

"The deuce he has!'* Colonel Chichester passed his 
hand over a worried forehead. "Mr. Eliot is a — " 

*' — Fool," Diana completed with satisfaction. 

"My dear child—" 

"That's what Professor Heilig said, and what I have 
been saying for the last five minutes. It's a relief to have 
got it out. And now you can tell me when the next boat 
sails." 

Colonel Chichester turned in his chair and stared at 
her. 

"Do you want to go to England? Last week you 
wouldn't, though I told you I should be thankful to get 
you out of the way — " 

"Father, things are different now. I must go/* 

"Why?" 

"I am going to take care of David's wife." 

They looked at each other, and in that moment though 
physically there was no likeness between them, their kin- 
ship was vividly evident. 

"It's not your business," Colonel Chichester commented 
briefly. 

"I promised," was the briefer answer. 

The resolute little soldier stretched out his hand for 

the steamship company's sailing list. 

"In that case, there is no more to be said," he agreed 
simply. 



CHAPTER II 
David's wife 



HURST COURT faced east ; to the west its regular 
lines of windows stared expressionless over a wide 
stretch of park whose ancient trees rose proudly to the 
low skies and only at rare intervals gave place to a wide 
roadway, which ran like a ribbon through the sea of dark 
olive, losing itself at last near the horizon in tangled for- 
est. A balcony leading out of the small room, which for 
generations had served the Lady Hursts as boudoir, alone 
broke the monotony of the Court's gray face. Thither 
David Hurst conducted his wife one evening not long 
after their arrival in their English home. The sun had 
long since sunk behind the distant line that bound in their 
world and a veil of gray ghostlike mist, heavy with the 
perfumes of early autumn, sank about them. 

Sarasvati leant her elbows on the stone balustrade 
and gazed silently before her, and the man at her 
side made no attempt to break in on her thoughts. He 
stood with folded arms and watched her, studying the 
pure and noble outline of her face, comparing, dreaming. 
It was at this hour that she seemed to him most truly her- 
self, yet most unreal. In the quiet and darkness the intan- 
gible something that divided her from her surroundings 
vanished, leaving her in strange harmony with all save 
humanity. Then a new expression dawned in her eyes ; 



DAVID'S WIFE ^iS 

the half-frightened, half-questioning gaze with which she 
viewed the unknown world revealed to her in the short 
year of their marriage, changed and deepened to intense 
thought. Then he saw her again as the goddess kneeling 
before the altar — ^the serene pure soul in touch with the 
infinite. Then he loved her most — with the least passion. 
For indeed he loved her not so much as a woman as 
a dream, a mysterious, scarcely material wonder which 
a miracle had allowed him to draw into the empty treas- 
ure-house of his life. 

As a gardener watches the opening of some lovely 
flower, so he had watched the marvel of her develop- 
ment. Swiftly, yet surely, with all the powers of as- 
similation of her origin, she had acquired his language, 
a partial understanding for his world. Almost with- 
out his knoweldge she had crept into the secret places 
of his heart, but her own heart remained closed. He stood 
forever on the threshold and knocked, and forever she 
answered with the limitless surrender of her whole self 
and forever he knew in her life there was a sanctuary — 
known hardly to herself — where he would never tread. 
And he loved her the more. For love is born of mystery 
and dies when it is fed on the plain gray truth which is 
sometimes not quite so true as our dreams. 

The darkness deepened and still he waited patiently, al- 
lowing the hallowed evening peace to sink deep into his 
being, then she turned to him and lifted her face to his. 

"My beloved !'* she said simply. 

He took the slender hand lying on the stone-work and 
held it, and there was again silence. But it was as though 
the two spoken words continued to vibrate on the still air 



2i6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

like notes of music drawn from an instrument by the 
touch of a master-hand, 

"Sarasvati," he said at last, "this is our home. Are 
you happy?" 

"Yes," she answered. He felt that her whole life con- 
centrated itself in that answer, and yet there was always 
that unconscious reservation. "Why do you ask me?" 
she said. "Do you not know the answer?" 

"I am not always sure," he returned thoughtfully. 
"Yes — sure of your answer — of you — ^but not of the 
truth. That morning when we faced the people together 
— to-night when I feel the cold damp mists rise about us — 
I am afraid. I remember the peace and the warm sunshine 
out of which I brought you." 

"Out of the loneliness — out of a long, sleep full of 
shapeless dreams into your life — into your love." She 
turned and laid her hands upon his shoulders. "My 
husband, I do not see the people who pass us ; I do not 
feel the mist rise ; about me all is warmth and sunshine 
— I see no face but yours. I live in you — I know no 
world but you." Her low voice broke and died into a 
passionate silence. 

He held her to him and through the gathering gloom 
their eyes met in wordless communion. The myste- 
rious bond which had come between them in that first 
silent meeting revealed itself again in all its strength, 
in all its spiritual purity. And yet he knew, even 
though the darkness hid the expression of her face, that 
there was trouble written there, the vague haunting 
trouble of which he had caught glimpses in moments 
whose close resemblance to each other worried him. He 



DAVID'S WIFE 217 

had seen it on board ship when some trivial valse had 
called the pleasure-loving Anglo-Indians, homeward 
bound, to their evening business. He had seen it when 
some beautifully dressed Englishwoman, leaning on the 
arm of her partner, had brushed past them as they sat 
together hidden in shadow near the prow of the vessel. 
He had seen it in the Corso at Rome when inadvertently 
their carriage had been caught in the stream of wealth 
and brilliancy that flowed toward the Villa Borghese. 
He had felt the pain that shot through her and, without 
understanding, had instinctively drawn her closer to him 
and had borne her quickly to some lonely spot whither 
the voices and laughter of men could not penetrate. To- 
night — if unclearly — ^he understood. 

"Nevertheless I have taken you from your dreams," 
he said. "I have drawn you into a world of realities. 
And the realities are grim ugly things." 

"Are they, indeed, the realities?" she questioned 
thoughtfully. "To me they are still as shadows which 
flit between us and the light. I see them. They have 
faces which they turn to me — ^they are mocking faces — 
full of cruel curiosity and scorn — ^but they do not hurt 
me or blind me to the light — not yet — ^not yet." 

"Sarasvati !" he exclaimed. "Am I not also a reality?" 

She shook her head. 

"I love you," she said almost beneath her breath. "I 
love you — ^so that you have become the light itself. But 
it is not this I love." She laid her hand on his shoulder 
and passed it softly over his breast. "That is the shadow, 
husband. I love the reality which I saw in my sleep, 
which called to me before your tongue uttered my name. 



2i8 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

It is not this face I see, but the face of your soul which 
I saw before my eyes were opened. I love you as others 
can not love you, for they have never seen you. A shadow 
passes before them and behold! they cry to one another 
that there are more lovely shadows. But I have seen the 
light and I know that it is great and strong and beauti- 
ful.^' 

"Sarasvati!" he said tenderly, "you are still not of 
this world. Will you never be ?" 

"Perhaps." She turned her head away from him and 
he felt that a faint shudder passed through her. "Per- 
haps one day I shall have to be — and then — ^and then — 
the light will go out." 

There was a new inflection in her voice. He drew her 
closer to him. 

^My wife, of what are you afraid?" he questioned. 

'Of the shadows," she cried, and clung to him with a 
passion rare in her. "Now you belong to me but one 
day they may claim you — ^you may become one of them — ^ 
She caught her breath. "Then I shall have to choose. 

"Between what?" 

"That I can not tell. I do not know. I only know that 
a choice will be put before me." 

Again he felt himself carried to the border of that un- 
traveled country of her inner life and, as always, an in- 
visible intangible barrier arose before him and barred the 
way. Prophetic, like some Eastern Cassandra, conscious 
of a secret power at work in the depths of her dark 
soul, she stared before her and he sought no further. 
Only he freed himself gently from the clasp of her hands 
and held her so that she faced him. 






99 



DAVID'S WIFE 219 

"Listen," he said quietly. "You are afraid of shadows, 
my wife. You are afraid that one day I shall see them 
with other eyes than yours and that I shall hunger after 
them. It is true, for me they are realities ; the world is 
real and I belong to it. But, Sarasvati, I have lived in 
it. I know it, not as you know it, as the creation of 
man's diseased unhappy fancy, but as a great monstrous 
structure, a machine grinding remorselessly on its never- 
ending round. It frightened me — I learned to know that 
I was handicapped beyond hope. I knew that all I had 
to offer would be flung upon the great rubbish heap 
for useless warped material. And yet I hungered after 
it all — after the love of my fellow-creatures, after their 
approbation. I wanted to be one of them — to share my 
life with them. I was like a beggar, a whining beggar 
who ran from house to house offering my half-formed 
ideals, my timid affections, in exchange for their love. 
They would have none of me. They grew impatient and 
I knew they despised me. But the begging had degraded 
me — ^made me into a weakling and a coward. That is 
the worst of begging — it drags down ever3rthing, the 
beggar and the giver; it is like a poison that paralyzes 
will and energy. I went on my cringing and pitiful way 
until one night I was twice stung to madness. And I 
found that a devil had crept into my heart and that I 
had neither faith nor love nor ideals left to save me. 
In that whole world, which you fear, there was not one 
who would have held out a rescuing hand. I stood on 
the brink of God knows what utter degradation — ^when 
I remembered you, Sarasvati." 

He stopped, and she drew back against the stone para- 



220 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

pet and watched him breathlessly. A last faint shimmer 
of evening light fell on his face ; its stern inflexible reso- 
lution softened for a moment, but his bearing was inex- 
pressibly, fiercely scornful. It was as though he lived 
over again the hours of bitter introspection, of impotent 
revolt against creation. 

"I remembered you," he went on with restrained force. 
"You were then little more to me than a picture out of 
some child's fairy tale, but you were beautiful — ^you 
were the only beautiful thing of my boyhood. I called 
upon you — there was magic in your name, for all that 
I had thought dead in me awoke afresh to new life. I 
flung the devil out of my heart, and that night I saw you." 

"And that night I heard your voice," she answered in 
a whisper. 

"And from that night onward my freedom began," 
he continued still in the same low passionate voice. "You 
set me free. I ceased to be a beggar when you gave me 
your love. God knows why you gave me your love — it 
was like a miracle — ^but you made me a man — ^you gave 
me back confidence — ^the command over myself and over 
my fate, Sarasvati. Can't you understand now? I owe 
you everything-— everything that I am." Suddenly his 
voice broke under the strain of painful self-repression. 
He stretched out his arms toward her, and she came to 
him and drew his head down to her shoulder. For a 
moment there was a silence — then he stood erect. 

"Neither you nor I need fear the world," he went on 
quietly. "It gave me nothing, I owe it nothing. I have 
defied its laws, disregarded its customs. If it comes to 
me now it is because I have grown rich — ^have had power 



DAVID'S WIFE 221 

thrust upon me. I have shut my door in the faces of 
those who pretend to seek me out either in kindness or 
friendship. After a little while they will cease to trouble 
us. I will build a wall around our lives, Sarasvati, my 
wife, and no one, no shadow shall enter to spoil our 
peace. Look" — ^he pointed out into the coming night — 
*'that is our world," he said triumphantly. 

A servant entered the room behind them and presently 
a stream of warmth flooded on to the balco'ny. Hurst 
looked down into his wife's face and saw that it was 
wet with tears. 

"Sarasvati !" he uttered. 

She drew closer to him; she clung to him, and a 
strange mingling of radiant happiness and fear shone out 
of her eyes. 

"I love thee !" she said in her own language. "I love 
thee — ^my lord, my god. If aught should come between 
thee and me, I could not live." 

Her voice died into silence. He felt Her shiver. 

"Sarasvati!" he said half reproachfully, "are you still 
afraid?" 

"It IS cold," she whispered back, "so cold." 

A breath of night wind, already touched with the 
sharpness of coming winter, brushed against their faces. 
And Hurst put his arm about his wife's shoulders and 
drew her gently into the lighted room behind them. 



CHAPTER III 

AN INTRUDER 

" A LETTER for you. Sir David/' 
x\ "Very well. Draw the curtains." 

'*^es. Sir David." 

Hurst waited until the man had carried out his orders 
before he touched the envelope lying on the table. With 
a reasonless quickening of the pulses he had recognized 
the Indian stamp and the strong, somewhat angular writ- 
ing, and he hesitated. His hesitation was also something 
that he could not analyze. Like a man awakening from 
some dream, he shrank involuntarily from the first touch 
of reality. He glanced across at his wife. She was seated 
by the fire, a picturesque figure in her richly embroidered 
sevi, her dark head thrown back against the high back 
of the leather chair, her thoughtful eyes bright with the 
recent tears. She seemed to feel his gaze, for she turned 
a little, smiling gravely. 

"It is from her," she said in her quaint foreign way, 
and the certainty of her tone startled him. 

He knew to whom the pronoun referred. For in her 
memory there was but one woman and she the one who, in 
those days of suspense, when Sarasvati bad lain hidden in 
the professor's bungalow, had stood by her with wisdom 
and a fiery devotion defying — though this Sarasvati did 

222 



AN INTRUDER 223 

not know — ^the wrathful protest of her father and mother 
and the indignation of all Kolruna. 

"Yes, it is from Diana Chichester," Hurst said, and 
opened the letter. The first line was curt and typical 
of the writer. 



"Thank you for your last long letter,'* Diana had 
written in good-natured irony. "Going by the adage 
that no news is good news, I suppose I ought to be well 
content, but unfortunately I have heard rumors from other 
quarters which make me doubtful. I confess that the 
rumors did not exactly fly to me unsought. I have been 
making inquiries. The professor, who is at present en- 
gaged in discovering some deep-laid plot that is going 
to blow us out of India, was worse than useless. All he 
seemed to know was that your English translation of 
the book which he compiled with you has been a tre- 
mendous success in the anthropological world, which 
means, I suppose, no royalties. Father Romney was de- 
lirious at the time — ^the result of a stone thrown by one 
of Mr. Eliot's most ardent followers — and consequently 
was not to be interviewed. Your mother and I are only 
on bowing terms, so that source of information was closed 
and I was on the point of writing to you myself when 
behold, no other than Dick Hatherway came to the res- 
cue. It seems he has a friend in your neighborhood, and 
that friend supplied him and me in one long letter with 
all details — each detail marked as an exclamation. 

"Well, David, you are going your own way with a 
vengeance. From all accounts you have — figuratively 
speaking — ^blacked the parson's eye and kicked the 
squire down-stairs. Nor have you been seen once in 
church — I beg your pardon, I remember that you have 
*gone over' as mother calls it, but this is a fact of 
which Steeple Hampton is still happily ignorant. All 
this is very commendable, David, and shows character — 



224 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

an article which this progfressive generation seems to find 
difficulty in supplying, but I wonder if you are not going 
too far? I put it to you timidly — ^as one who has no 
right, save that of respect, to interfere. What does that 
old Sir David Hurst, hanging over your library mantel- 
piece, think about it? After all, you have to consider him 
a little — ^and, even if you didn't, there is another point 
of view. Wasn't it Milton who talked about a 'cloistered 
virtue' with some disapproval? At any rate, whatever 
Milton did, I despise a cloistered anything— especially 
courage. You have been very brave — ^braver than any 
man I know — ^and I think it is a pity for you to go and 
sit down behind your castle walls and rest on your laurels. 
It looks dangerously as though you were enjoying the 
benefits of a 'fluke,' and, as I know it wasn't a fluke, I 
should like you to go out again into the world and defy 
a few more of these fat aldermen — Prejudice, Humbug 
& Co. Won't you ? I think you will when the occasion 
comes. And big men always make the occasion. 

"So much for my chief reason for writing. As for my 
own affairs — if they interest you — ^there is not much to re- 
late. I am getting rather weary of froth and frothy people. 
I know they are all very brave and good at the bottom 
and that, if anything dreadful happened, they would prove 
the heroes and heroines they really are ; but this fact does 
not prevent them from being demoralizingly superficial. 
I know this sounds priggish and superior, but if I were 
really superior I should not mind. As it is, I feel myself 
too much of a feather not to realize that it is high time 
I found something better to do than dancing into the 
small hours of the morning. Mother, of course, agrees 
and disagrees alternately as the mood takes her. She is 
getting up some theatricals and consequently is in ex- 
cellent health. 

^ "Mrs. Hurst does not look well but she recuses to go 
either to the hills or home. I'm afraid the death of 
her brother and his son — ^besides other things — ^has 



AN INTRUDER 225 

made more difference than one would have thought 
possible in a woman of her character. The family 
was her fetish and now — I suppose — she thinks it 
broken beyond repair. If I wanted to be trite I should 
say that we make our life unnecessarily cruel for our- 
selves and others with our prejudices. The judge looks 
desperately ill and is not so cheerful as of old, but he 
clings heroically to his part — whatever that may be. 
"And now you have all my news in a nutshell. Write 
to me and tell me about your wife. Do not give her my 
love — one does not present such commonplace offerings 
to a princess out of fairy-land — ^but tell her, and above 
all remember, if she needs a woman to help her, as 
only a woman can, against the backbitings of your en- 
lightened neighbors, I will come by the next boat. I am 
spoiling for a fight. Good-by; and take my advice: 
follow the example of your namesake and smite the 
Philistines another glorious blow. By the way, was 
Goliath a Philistine? I have forgotten. At any rate, 
your Goliath is a very respectable person called Brown, 
or Robinson, or even Morell, and by his righteousness 
shall you know him. And so farewell. 

"Your affectionate 

"Diana Chichester. 

"P. S. — I have just heard that Mr. Eliot has sent his 
convert, Rama Pal, to England — ^with some charitable 
Hindu's money and an introduction to you! Professor 
Heilig has an idea — and his ideas are usually good — ^that 
our young Christian brother was closely connected with 
last year's little excitement, or, at any rate, with the 
Brahmans who started it, consequently Mr. Eliot's action 
in sending him to you is on a par with his general intelli- 
gence. Rama Pal will undoubtedly recognize your wife, 
and afterward no one knows what course he may take. 
On the whole, judging from various indications, I think 
I might be quite useful in England, and shortly after the 



226 THE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA 

A- 

receipt of this letter you may expect to find me on the 
door-mat. I have only allowed myself one postscript, but 
you see it is an important one/' 

For some time after he had finished reading Hurst 
sat quietly gazing into the fire. What he saw there he 
himself did not know, but he was conscious that, out of 
the restless changing flames, pictures were struggling to 
form themselves against his will and desire. Presently he 
looked up. The great oil painting which hung over the 
mantelpiece attracted his attention. Until now he had 
scarcely noticed it. A typical old family portrait, it had 
little enough to recommend itself to any but the con- 
firmed ancestor collector, and hitherto Hurst had thrust 
the thought of his family resolutely out of his life. 
Through the dreary years of his boyhood he had listened 
to veiled half-consjcious comparisons, and out of his 
suppressed bitterness had grown up a sullen hatred for 
those heroes whose glorious mantle had been fiung upon 
his unworthy shoulders. He hated them as he might 
have hated living enemies ; when he passed through the 
long hall lined with their portraits he felt that they 
stared at him from their high places in cold contempt, 
and like an outsider, striving to mask his wounded pride 
with indifference, he passed them by unnoticed. 

But to-night he studied this faded picture imtil the 
sunken colors regained their original brightness and the 
face and figure stood out against the somber unreal back- 
ground of a poorly conceived battle-field with all the plas- 
tic clearness of life. The portrait represented a colonel in 
the Indian army of fifty years ago. The quaint uniform, 
the stiff uncompromising pose of the tall square-shoul- 



AN INTRUDER ^27 

dered figure, suggested nothing very heroic, but the face 
^rrested and held Hurst's attention. Poor craftsman 
though the artist had been, he had managed to catch a 
glimpse of his subject's individuality. The dark somber 
features revealed the man of action, the eyes, the dreamer 
and the idealist. They stared down at the man by the fire- 
side and gradually it seemed to him that they lost their 
expression of grave unchanging condemnation and be- 
came alive with a significance and a look of appeal and 
an unsatisfied desire which was painfully familiar. 

Hurst passed his hand over his own eyes — and then re- 
membered. The memory forced an audible laugh from 
his lips. Between the Sir David of those brave days and 
the Sir David Hurst of now there was a gulf which no 
flattering but fancied resemblance could bridge. Hurst 
sprang impatiently to his feet and suddenly became aware 
that Sarasvati's eyes had never left his face. 

"Your letter has brought you trouble," she said gravely. 

He shook his head and laughed again with sincere 
light-heartedness. 

"How could it, dear? Nothing that happens in a world 
outside my own can affect me very closely. Would you 
like me to read the letter to you ?" 

"Might I try to read it myself?" she asked shyly. "I 
think if I touched her letter I should feel her nearer to 
me." 

He handed her the folded sheets without answering. 
Her unaffected attachment to the Englishwoman who had 
befriended her touched him and drew her closer to him. 
For there is nothing we value so much in those dear to 
us as their appreciation of our friends — and justly, since 



228 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

it is an appreciation of ourselves and our innermost needs. 
Hurst sank back into his chair and watched his wife as 
she read. She read slowly, for the Latin letters had always 
been a stumbling-block in her intellectual progfress, and 
he knew by her eyes that one or two sentences were 
returned to with an unsatisfied inquiry. When she had 
at last finished she did not look at him but at the portrait 
above the mantelpiece. There was a moment's silence, 
then she came to hist and laid the letter gravely in his 
hand. 

"Who is this Rama Pal?" she asked. 

He looked at her, arrested by something new in her 
expression, a vague underl)dng fear such as a hunter 
sees in the eyes of a hind at the approach of a hidden 
danger. Instinctively Hurst drew his wife closer to him. 
As always his strength and self-reliance g^rew with her 
need. 

"A Hindu convert," he said quietly. "Why are you 
trembling? Do you think that he could harm you here?" 

She raised her unfathomable eyes to his, and he was 
conscious that she looked beyond him to something as yet 
veiled in mystery, whose shape she was desperately striv- 
ing to distinguish. 

"He comes," she said under her breatK, "and he brings 
danger — ^to you. I am afraid." Suddenly she clung to 
him in a passion of tenderness. "No, no, I am not afraid. 
There is something stronger than fear — ^** 

"Our love," he said, and then, as she remained silent 
he quietly dianged the subject. "Diana is coming. Are 
you glad?" 

The pressure of her hand tightened. 



AN INTRUDER ^29 

"Yes, I am glad. Our friend is wise and good. She 
loves you well, husband." 

"Loves me!" Hurst echoed. "Why, Sarasvati, Diana 
and I were children together, we played together, we 
grew up together. Which fact does not prevent her 
from looking upon me as a very inferior sort of individ- 
ual in whom she takes an interest for the sake of old 
times — ^that is all." He looked up smiling into his wife's 
dark and lovely face, but still her eyes were fixed on the 
old portrait and she shook her head. 

"She comes because she fears for you," she said. 
"Does a woman do that who does not love?" 

"You do not understand Englishwomen such as Diana 
Chichester," he returned. "You can not understand 
friendship between a man and a woman." 

"Friendship between a man and a woman?" she re- 
peated thoughtfully. "Can that really be?" 

He suppressed a movement of impatience. Her un- 
conscious wisdom, bom of an elemental simplicity of 
feeling, startled him to a sense of danger. He looked at 
her and saw that she was standing in an attitude of 
childish wonder, her hands crossed upon her breast as 
he had often seen them. This momentary impatience 
passed. Before her absolute sincerity he was conscious 
of a rising remorse, a sudden recognition of his own dis- 
loyalty. With no other woman would he have counted 
himself disloyal. The tacit understanding that neither is 
of necessity the first in the other's life is usually included 
in the marriage contract, and the woman who honestly 
believes herself a unique episode may be counted a Vic- 
torian curiosity. But David Hurst's wife had been 






230 THE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA 

brought straight into the world from an incomparable 
solitude. For her, love was simply this one man. Could 
she be made to realize that for him there had been another 
woman and if she realized it, would it not break her 
heart? David Hurst became afraid, and the confession 
which had risen to his lips was held back. He came to her 
side and took her hands gently in his. 

Friendship between men and women exists,*' He said. 
It exists between Diana and myself. Had we not proof 
of it in those days at Kolruna?*' 

"Yes," she answered simply, "but I did not know that 
that was friendship.*' 

They said no more. At that moment the door of the 
library had opened and the butler, followed directly by 
a short wiry individual in a tremendous overcoat, entered 
the room. The butler apologized with a gesture that 
eloquently described his inability to cope with the situa- 
tion. 

"If you please. Sir David, this — ^this gentleman — " 

"Smith is my name," came the interruption from the 
unexpected visitor. "It is not an unusual name but well 
known in these precincts. Permit me to give you my 
card, Sir David." He bustled forward and laid a piece 
of white pasteboard on the table, then performed a cere- 
monious bow addressed this time to Sarasvati. "I am 
quite aware that I am intruding," he went on with a 
gesture that finally dismissed the butler, "but it is well 
known that visitors who try the ordinary way are not 
received and my business is important enough to justify 
any means, good or bad. I hope I am excused?" 



AN INTRUDER 231 

"That depends," Hurst returned. "Judging by or- 
dinary standards, I should call this — *^ 

" — An impertinence," finished the little man with the 
greatest amiability. "Quite right. Sir David. It is an 
impertinence, but impertinence is my best stock in trade- 
it belongs, in fact, to my business. I simply couldn't get 
on without it. In a word — ^I am a politician." 

He brought out the word with a gravity that was 
denied by the twinkle in his small bright eyes and then 
went on without giving his unwilling host any opportunity 
to speak. "I want half an hour of your time. Sir David. 
I claim it not on my own behalf, but on the behalf of your 
country. It would be a charity to listen to me. Are you 
a patriot?" 

"It depends on your definition of patriotism," Hurst 
returned with increasing amusement. 

"Patriotism," said the little man, and rubbed his chin, 
"is a supreme admiration for yourself and an equal con- 
tempt for your neighbor — ^that is, in the ordinary way. 
At election time, however, it becomes *the noblest emotion 
burning in the heart of man.' Personally I call it a 
reasonable desire to keep one's own house in order." 

"Then I am a patriot," Hurst admitted. 

"May I sit down?" 

"By all means. Have you any objection to Lady Hurst 
taking part in this interesting interview ?" 

"On the contrary" — another deep bow — ^"'Lady Hurst's 
presence is most necessary — I might say essential. A 
man in my position depends more on the ladies than any 
one else." He seated himself stifHy in the chair to which 



232 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

he had been motioned and undid his overcoat. "And 
now, may I get to business ?' 

"I should be grateful/' 

"In the first place/* said Mr. Smith referring to a 
note-book, "I should like to mention that I am a member 
of the Unionist Association of the division, and that for 
the last ten years I have served the Hurst family as 
electioneering agent and general business man. You 
know, of course, that the late baronet was a member of 
Parliament?" 

Hurst bowed. 

"You are also aware, perhaps, that we are on the eve 
of a general election. The seat will be strongly contested 
by a Socialist and a Liberal candidate who fancy the situ- 
ation favorable for knocking down our majority. Unless 
we can find a man who can count on all the old voters 
we are bound to lose in a three-cornered contest. That 
is our position, Sir David. We must have a good man 
and a popular man — ^and, frankly, the only one we can 
think of is 3rourself." 

Hurst started slightly. The blood had rushed to his 
face and he glanced at Sarasvati who was seated in her 
place by the fire. Her features were composed; she 
seemed scarcely to be listening. 

"What you appear to suggest is impossible/* Hurst 
said sharply. "I have no political experience.'* 

"I have enough for half a dozen," Mr. Smith retorted 
with a significant grimace. 

"I have no political convictions." 

"That doesn't matter. They can be supplied. All you 
Have to do is to make your choice and stick to it." 



AN INTRUDER 233 

"And the choice lies between what ?" 

Mr. Smith shrugged his shoulders. 

^'Politicians are divided into two camps," he said. "On 
the one side are the 'haves' and on the other 'the want 
to haves* and between them is the great ass, the public. 
The game consists in trying by all means possible to ca- 
'jole and bully the animal into running to one or the other 
of the players. The means consist usually of promises 
and threats. The one side promises sixpence for a shil- 
ling and the other talks of empire and invasion and God 
knows what else. As a matter of fact there isn't much 
difference between 'em, bless you. They both lie and call 
each other liars; they both love the ass tenderly before 
the elections and themselves afterward when they vote 
themselves incomes at the ass's expense; most of 'em 
cease to be gentlemen the minute they put their noses into 
a committee room. If they continue to have nice manners 
they get called 'philosophers' or something else equally 
useless, and get kicked out. The best thing is to dip your 
tongue alternately in oil and vinegar and hit out hard. 
If you hit your opponent below the belt — so much the 
better. The great thing is to wind him, and by the time 
the referee has made up his mind you'll be elected." 

The little man stopped breathless. Though he had 
spoken with apparent enthusiasm his mouth was drawn 
into a bitter sarcastic line, and his eyes gleamed anger. 
Hurst shrugged his shoulders. 

"And this is the business into which you suggest plung- 
ing me?" he asked with an uneasy laugh. 
^Yes," said Mr. Smith. 
Then I am sorry to say I must refuse." 






234 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Why?" 

"Because I have no desire to enter into public life. 
Moreover, I should be worse than useless. I am not 
popular — ^" 

"You are a Hurst/' the agent interrupted curtly. 
"That counts more than anything. I know that you've 
set the country by the ears, but that can be easily reme- 
died. Your uncle's recent death will amply account for 
your retirement — and other difficulties" — ^he hesitated 
for the first time and his eyes dropped — ^'^can be managed 
with a little tact." 

"Nevertheless, I refuse finally." 

Mr. Smith arose suddenly to his feet. His whole man- 
ner had undergone a complete change. Indignation and 
a genuine enthusiasm rendered him almost majestic. 

"You haven't the right to refuse, Sir David," he said. 

Hurst arose also. His face was dark, but not with 
anger. 

"What do you mean ?" he demanded. 

*'What I say, Sir David. You are an Englishman and 
you have no right to shrink from your duty because it is 
inconvenient to you. God knows we are beset enough 
by place-seekers and cheap-jacks seeking publicity at the 
cost of their country's welfare ; there are few enough of 
the old stock left who served without thought of their 
own gain. But if these few are going to turn back 
because the job is too dirty for them then we're done for 
— ^then we might as well shut up shop and let the Social- 
ists tear our honor and our glory to pieces and divide 
the spoils between them. I admit it is a dirty job. It 
makes a man sick to have to fight against a devilish 



AN INTRUDER 235 

« 

egoism that calls itself democracy, but it makes a man 
sicker still to see those who could win fold their hands 
and say that they weren't made for public life. Sir 
David, I don't know what your convictions are, but I'll 
be bound they're those of an honorable unselfish gentle- 
man and that you'll stand for the old traditions. We 
need you and you've got to come. There isn't a man 
who won't vote for you for the old name's sake, and for 
all you represent. You owe it to your country — ^and you 
owe it to your family." 

"What do you mean?" Hurst repeated in the same re- 
pressed tone. 

Smith lifted his eyebrows. 

"I did not mean to tell you, Sir David, but the Social- 
ist fellow, Grey, has started his campaign with the natural 
supposition that you will stand, and he has already circu- 
lated some pretty ugly stories about your Indian affairs. 
He seems to have got hold of some Hindu fellow to back 
his lies and, by heaven, sir, you've got to come out to 
choke them down his greedy throat. You must — for 
your own sake and the sake of your — " He stopped 
awkwardly and there was a tense silence. Hurst'^ glance 
had passed from his wife to the portrait over the mantel- 
piece. The lines of his face were grim and hard. 

"I refuse," he said. "I am sorry — ^but it is impossible." 

"I beseech you." A hand was laid on his arm. He 
turned. Sarasvati stood at his side. "I beseech you!" 
she repeated. 

**Sarasvati !" he exclaimed. 

"I do not understand all," she answered gently, "but 
I understand the words ^country' and 'family'. I under- 



236 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

stand that the world has need of you. Is it not so?" 
She turned her dark eyes to the agent in grave appeal. 

Mr. Smith nodded. The expression on his lean clean- 
shaven face betrayed both admiration and uneasiness. 

"Yes, that's true. Lady Hurst," he answered briskly. 
"We want your husband. He has a big career before 
him." 

"David !" she pleaded. 

"You don't know what you ask!" Hurst said almost 
violently. "You are forcing me into a life which we 
have both renounced." 

"To which you belong, husband," she answered. "You 
must go out and fight — ^as she said. I — ^I was wrong. 
One has no right to peace — ^not here." 

Mr. Smith cleared his throat. He was not a man given 
to sentiment outside his profession, but he was dimly con- 
scious that something was passing between this strangely 
assorted couple which it was not for him to see. 

"I tell you what^ Sir David," he began in businesslike 
tones. "My address is on the card. Think it over and 
let me know as soon as you can. But remember — our 
time is precious." 

Sarasvati turned to him. Her hand rested on Ker hus- 
band's arm and afterward the little agent described her 
attitude as "queenly". 

"My husband will write to you," she said, "but tell 
those who sent you that he will do what it is right for 
him to do." 

"Thank you, Lady Hurst." Mr. SmitK Kowed. He 
wanted to say more — ^he would have been glad to have 



AN INTRUDER 237 

apologized. He had regarded her as an enemy and a 
stumbling-block, and she had won his battle for him. 
But for once his nerve, steeled as it was by much hector- 
ing, failed him. This slight delicate-looking woman 
in her strange heathenish dress looked at him with eyes 
that seemed to command and supplicate. He murmured 
something unintelligible and bowed himself out of the 
room. 

For a long time after he had gone husband and wife 
did not speak to each other. David Hurst had dropped 
back into his chair. His pulses were beating with an 
emotion that he dared not recognize. In the firelight 
the pictures were forming fast and he could not break 
them. Presently she came and knelt beside him. He felt 
her soft arms about his neck ; the vague mysterious per- 
fume which clung to her rose to him like a sweet yet 
wordless reminder. He caught her to him almost 
roughly. 

"It must not be/* he said. "What have I to do witH 
these people? What do I want with them?" 

"They need you," she said steadily. 

"Do you not need me?" She was silent and he forced 
her to look at him. "Do you not need me?" he repeated. 

"Do I not need my heart to live?" she answered. 

He caught his breath, startled by the stifled yet pas- 
sionate earnestness of the simple words, and she went 
on gently. 

"I have not understood — ^but now I understand. You 
are a great man, and I have tried to keep you. For me 
the world is shadow, but to you it has become real — ^it 
calls you, and you must go !" 



238 JTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Sarasvati I** he exclaimed painfully moved. "There 
is no 'mustT 

"Fate has spoken/* she returned. 

He clenched his fist in a movement of stern protest. 

"There is no fate—" 

"Only the fate of the will which Has been given you." 

And this time he made no answer. She bent her head 
so that her cheek rested on his hand and he felt that 
it was wet with tears. 



CHAPTER IV 

DIANA TO THE BBSCUB 

DIANA CHICHESTER sat in tHe comer of a third- 
class compartment and watched the drear snow- 
covered wastes slip past her window with a joyful in- 
terest which only an Anglo-Indian, accustomed to eternal 
dust and sunshine, could have appreciated. Her train 
was of necessity a slow one, for no express ever stopped 
at Steeple Hampton. Three or four times a day a snort- 
ing, pufiing little engine of antiquated structure jerked 
to a standstill beneath the pretentious bridge that 
united the two minute platforms, and even the great 
folk of the land had to content themselves with a pace 
of fifteen miles an hour and a regular and lengthy stop- 
page every few minutes. 

But Diana was in no hurry. Hers was one of those 
natures whose fierce joy in life makes every minute 
precious, every detail of absorbing interest, and when 
she was not silently greeting the familiar landmarks 
her mind was busy with the past and present and 
building thereupon a future which was very close 
to her. She came armed with knowledge culled 
in many different quarters, for it Was a fact that though 
she neither scandalized nor indulged in the "Bazaar Gup" 
common to all Indian stations, she knew everything that 

239 



240 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

the worst gossiper knew and a good deal more besides. 
The truth was that people came to her, not with their 
neighbors' affairs so much as with their own, and her 
way of accepting their confidences rendered them ob- 
livious to the fact that she never talked about herself. 
Thus she knew most of the events that had excited 
Steeple Hampton and was prepared to face a trouble 
which on the surface was not very apparent. All that 
she had heard had made her afraid, and it was destined 
that before her journey's end her fear should be doubly 
confirmed. One station before Steeple Hampton two men 
got into her compartment. They were of a t)rpe very 
familiar to her — shrewd, hard-headed and unemotional 
farmers of the better class, and their conversation, evi- 
dently the end of a long discussion, immediately caught 
her attention. 

"Well, I don't quite know what to make of it," the 
elder man remarked, unfolding the local paper. "I likes 
the look of him and what he says is sense, though it isn't 
the sense of most people. But he's queer. He talks, to 
my thinking, a bit too free. And then there's the wife." 

"Aye, there's the wife," echoed the other with a grim- 
ace. "That tells against him. We aren't accustomed to 
that sort of thing in these parts." 

"They do §ay that she worships wooden idols," went 
on the first speaker with a lowered voice, "and neither 
of them aren't ever seen in church. Now that's what I 
don't like. When I gives my vote I want to know that 
my man is a Hurst and a Christian gentleman. Now, 
this young chap— well, if he gets me he gets me in spite 
of myself, so to speak. He don't hunt and he don't go 



DIANA TO THE RESCUE 241 

to church and he's got a black woman for a wife, and 
none of them things is much to my liking. My old 
woman swears shell talk the roof off if I votes for him." 

There was a moment's thoughtful silence. The train 
began to reduce speed and Diana Chichester to collect 
her belongings. As is the way with men of their class, 
her two companions watched her without noticing her. 

"That fellow Grey has got some queer tales about 
Sir David," the more loquacious of the two went on. "I 
happened to hear his last address and he swore he was 
going to bring down a speaker who knew something of 
Sir David's doings out in India. I'd like to know the 
truth about all that before I makes up my mind." 

"Well, if I don't vote for Sir David I don't vote at all," 
the other retorted. "To my mind Grey is a dirty scoun- 
drel, and not one of my folk has ever turned Socialist 
yet, thank God." 

With an imposing jerk the train came to a standstill 
and Diana made for the door. She had a considerable 
struggle with the handle before either of them realized 
that she was endeavoring to get out, and she thanked 
them for their belated assistance with a graciousness 
that startled them effectually out of their phlegm. 

"And by the way," she said as she reached the plat- 
form, "you can take it from me tha.t those queer stories 
are very ordinary lies. I know Sir David better than 
most people, and I promise you that he is a brave and 
honorable gentleman. As to his wife — she is worthy of 
him, and the man who gudges a woman by her color is 
a fool." 

And with that she smiled upon them and slammed 



242 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

the door in their faces and left them breathless. Half- 
way down the platform she met Hurst himself. She 
hardly recognized him. He seemed to her to have grown 
taller, and as he lifted his cap she saw that he had aged 
more than the eighteen months of their separation justi- 
fied. In spite of his years there was already a sugges- 
tion of gray in the thick black hair, and his mouth, 
though it had lost its moody C3mical curves, had nar- 
rowed to a straight repressed-looking line. Yet when 
he smiled she recognized in him the boy whose dreamy, 
gentle, if ineffectual, ways had once roused her childish 
irritation, and that old expression of awkward appealing 
friendliness, side by side with the new strength, struck 
her as oddly attractive. She g^ve him both her hands 
and he clasped them with an energy that brought the 
blood to her cheeks. 

"It is so good of you, Di," he said, and again in His 
voice she recognized th^ familiar gratitude for some little 
service done. 

"I hardly dared believe you were really coming. IV^ 
brought the dog-cart. It's a wretchedly cold day, but I 
thought you'd like it better than being cooped up in a 
state carriage. Your luggage can come on afterward. 
You've brought plenty ?" 

"Enough to see you safely decorated with the fatal 
initials," she returned gaily. "How are things progress- 
ing, David?" 

"I'll tell you as we drive along." He helped her up 
into her seat and took the reins from the waiting groom. 

"When did you get my telegram ?" he asked. 

"Yesterday evening. I performed a mental war-dance 



DIANA TO THE RESCUE 243 

of triumph when I Heard that you had really entered the 
lists at last I came straight here." 

He glanced sidewise at her determined profile. Her 
erect carriage and the energetic tilt of her finely molded 
chin concealed to some extent the lines of weariness 
that had crept about the eyes and mouth. 

"You mean — ^you came straight here without seeing a 
soul?" 

"Not so much as an aunt or a cousin. There is a whole 
clan of Chichesters herded together somewhere in Chel- 
tenham who are at the present moment considering what 
ineligible person I may possibly have eloped with. It 
will give them something to talk about for weeks." She 
laughed to herself and her laugh was irresistible, so that 
Hurst was compelled to join in though his expression 
remained troubled. 

"I feel I have been abominably selfish," he said. "I 
never thought you would really come so soon." 

"Or perhaps you wouldn't have invited me?" she in- 
terposed maliciously, 

"Don't heckel an already much-harassed candidate," 
he pleaded. "I sent you a telegram because I thought 
by that means to get an answer from you in under three 
weeks— ^that's why." 

"Men never expect women to keep their promises," 
she observed scornfully. "It's positively discouraging. 
I told you I should come when you both felt I might be 
of some use — ^and here I am and I hope you are glad to 



see me." 



u 



More glad than I can say," he answered gravely. 
By this time they had left the village behind them and 






244 iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

a cold blast of winter wind swept over the barren fields 
and for a moment cut short all conversation. David 
Hurst drove well. The chestnut was fiery and ill-tem- 
pered^ yet he controlled her with an absolute confidence 
that impressed Diana, because it was so unexpected in 
him. Undoubtedly he had changed. She studied him 
out of the corner of her eyes and wondered at the differ- 
ence that a development of character can make to an 
ugly face. 

"Tell me about everything," she commanded, Ufting 
tier head to the wind. 

**It is a fight," he answered laconically. 
But you are going to win !" 

You think so? I don't know. I have a great deal 
against me. But I am glad of that If I get in it will be 
in spite of them and not simply because I am Sir David 
Hurst." 

"What is against you ?" she asked. He was silent for 
a moment, and she regretted her question. Already she 
had touched on the trouble that she had suspected — ^the 
sudden pallor in his dark cheeks betrayed the reality of its 
existence. 

"Many things are against me," he answered slowly. 
"Myself in the first instance. I don't fit anywhere to 
their preconceived notions of what I should be — I don't 
try to. I go my own way. They're getting accustomed to 
it, but it's been a hard pull. And now, of course, there's 
Rama Pal." 

Rama Pal?" she echoed in a puzzled tone. "Already?" 
Yes. He cropped up soon after your warning. I 
haven't seen him myself, but my agent knows all 



"] 



• DIANA TO THE RESCUE 245 

about him. Grey, the Socialistic fellow, has got him 
down. As far as I can make out he has been studying 
law in London, and is mixed up with a whole society of 
fellow-countrymen whom we allow to drift from bad to 
worse for want of a little generosity and common sense. 
It is inevitable that they should grow to hate us, and the 
Socialists have easy work with them." 

"But what has Rama Pal to do with this election ?" she 
asked frowning. 

"He is working for the Socialistic party. They are 
not very careful how they choose their weapons, and 
this is a peculiarly dirty one — I am accused of every- 
thing from abducting native children from their parents 
down to the pettiest acts of oppression." He gave a 
short contemptuous laugh. "No doubt there is more 
to come." 

She was silent a moment. Her fine brows knitted in 
earnest thought. 

"I knew that Rama Pal had gone wrong," she said at 
last. "The professor told me. You remember all those 
gymnasium and physical exercise clubs that the educated 
Hindus were so eager about? They were and are utter 
frauds, hot-beds of anarchy and dacoitage, and Rama 
Pal was one of the ringleaders, though Mr. Eliot sticks 
to his protege with all the obstinate confidence of a bigot 
in his own achievement. When we heard that he had 
come to England with Brahman money we guessed what 
part he would play over here, but I never thought he 
would turn your enemy. After all, you saved his life." 

"That's why he hates me," Hurst answered. 

She looked at him in surprise, then nodded. 



246^ [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"On^-has to get used to the oriental point of view/' 
she said.* 

"It IS quite a natural point of view and not a bad one, 
Di. If you take a man away from his religion and his 
people and thrust him into a false position he is not likely 
to thantf you much for the mere benefit of living. I gave 
him his life, as it were, but even at the time I had a 
glimmering idea that it would have been much better if 
I had let matters alone. But my apology was not appre- 
ciated and is still less likely to be appreciated now that the 
acid has done its work. So it's war to the knife." 

"Take care, David." 

He touched the mare sharply with the whip so that she 
bounded forward over the smooth white road. 

"You wouldn't like me to take care," he said. 

"You are beginning to know me, David." 

"I know my mother." 

"I'm not like your mother. If I were your mother — " 

She stopped suddenly and a wave of color mounted 
to the roots of her fair hair. 

Well?" Hurst questioned. 

1 would take care of you," she said. 

He laughed again, and for the first time she caught a 
note of the old bitterness. 

"I have learned to take care of myself." 

"Just for that reason," she retorted. 

After that a long silence fell between them. The hard 
lines about Hurst's mouth had relaxed. He scarcely 
knew it, but the presence of the woman beside him gave 
him a new sense of rest and content. He turned to her 






DIANA TO THE RESCUE 247 

presently with a smile that lent his strength a jojrOusness 
it had hitherto lacked. 

"I can't tell you how thankful I am you have come, 
Di," he said. "Sarasvati wants you — needs you." 

"Tell me about her," she pleaded gently. 

He did not answer at once. She thought that his face 
had saddened, but it was possible that the growing dusk 
had thrown a shadow over his features. 

"It's rather hard to tell you anything, Di," he began 
at last. "It has been wonderful to see how she has grown 
into everything — learned our ways, our language and our 
thought. Though I've *gone over,' as you call it, I'm not 
much of a believer, but sometimes I've felt I should like 
to go on my knees to a Creator who could have made 
anything so noble, and simple, and pure. It is as though 
God had made one being whom He had kept 'unspotted 
from the world'." His voice had deepened and softened 
with rare feeling, and Diana looked straight ahead, know- 
ing that his face betrayed more than she had a right 
to see. "But that's the tragedy of it all," he went on, 
with a short sigh. "She isn't of this world ; she only un- 
derstands it as a spirit might understand it, and she 
can not really live in it, or with it, any more than a spirit 
could do. And I'm of the world, Di — ^partly at least. 
Circumstance has thrust me into life, and one side of my 
own character. And she can't follow me — ^she tried, but 
it was beyond her power. So it grows lonelier and lonelier 
for her and there is no one to help. Sometimes I wish 
I had conquered the temptation to take my share in the 
world's work — it comes between us.'* 



248 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



"1 



'But you are happy in your new life, David." 

Tes," he answered simply and directly. "I have at 
last found the work which I have been appointed to do, 
and that alone is something for which any man might be 
grateful. And besides that I have Sarasvati. I love her 
as I love my books, my music and my dreams — ^if I did 
not love her the best part of myself would be dead. But 
I am worried, Di. She stands so much alone in this cold 
gray country of ours — like a princess out of a fairy 
story in an ugly world of realities — " He gave a rueful 
little smile. "And I am not a fairy prince." 

They swung into the long avenue and the darkness hid 
them from each other. The lamps on the dog-cart threw 
a yellow reflection on the white snow, and through the 
trees the lights of the Court flashed like bright will-o'-the- 
wisps. Hurst stretched out his free hand and drew the 
rug more closely over Diana's knee. 

"Are you cold ?" he asked. 

"I don't know — ^very likely, David. Tell me what are 
they like — ^the other people here, I mean." 

"Typical," he answered trenchantly. "Honest, but 
prejudiced to the last degree. For the sake of my name 
they have managed to swallow my peculiarities, and they 
are making a loyal fight for me— «very one of them. 
But — " he hesitated. 

"I understand," she said quietly. "Fve had letters, 
David, and if you want to know the truth — ^that's why 
I've come. Kolruna or Steeple Hampton — it*s all the 
same—^-a foreigner is an outsider — sl — a native is an out- 
caste. I am sorry, David. It sounds brutal, but you and 



DIANA TO THE RESCUE 249 



y- 



1 

I had better be open with eacH other, and I know you are 
brave enough and indifferent enough to bear it. I know, 
that Sarasvati stands quite alone." 

"Quite alone," he answered, and she saw that he drew, 
himself up straighten "They patronized her as long as 
their curiosity lasted. It was a wretched business. The 
squire's wife called, the vicar called, the place was over- 
run with interested pettifoggers of every sort. Once I 
stood for election I couldn't keep my doors closed any 
longer. I tried to stand by Sarasvati and shelter her, 
but now and again some old woman got hold of her and 
worried and stung her as only women can do. They 
asked her about her religion, and her parents, and heaven 
knows what else, and went away up to their ears in right- 
eous indignation because she told them her father was 
God." He gave a short bitter laugh. "The vicar tried 
to convert her to his particular way of thinking — his wife 
persuaded her to take to European dress — ^to please me ! 
That was awful — ^hideously pathetic. I put my foot 
down. Between them they were frightening her and 
troubling her to death. Now they ignore her and look 
upon me as a renegade. It is best so. She must be kept 
out of the turmoil — away from people whom she could 
never understand — ^and who would never understand her. 
I think you will understand her, Di. You don't form 
your opinions, as most of us do, by rules." 

She flushed again as though his confidence pleased her. 

"No, you and I are both rather exceptions," she said. 
"It is scarcely a matter of self-congratulation, though. 
The world was not made for exceptions, and the majority 



2SO iTHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

takes good care that the minority gets badly jolted. 
Never mind, David, genius and lunacy are both on our 
side." 

He laughed and a moment later drew rein before the 
stone steps of the Court. 

"Sarasvati will be waiting for us," he said. 

But the house was oddly quiet as they entered it. 

"Her ladyship is in the drawing-room," the butler 
answered in reply to Hurst's question. "She has been 
expecting you since four o'clock. Sir David." 

The man's tone was such as he might have adopted 
when speaking of a child. It expressed a kindly, almost 
affectionate and very respectful forbearance. Once it 
had been supercilious, but that had been at the beginning. 

Hurst glanced at his watch, 

"Your train was very late, Di," he observed. "Let 
us go and find her." 

Diana followed him up the broad old-fashioned stair- 
case to the familiar drawing-room, but there, too, all was 
quiet, and no light burned save thai of the log fire whose 
red reflections danced silently about the quiet comers. 
Hurst drew back disappointed. 

"She is not here," he said, and his voice sounded 
uneasy. Diana laid her hand on his arm. 

"She is here," she whispered. "Come — ^very quietly." 

She led him on tiptoe to the fireside, and then he saw 
her. She lay on the white hearth-rug, half supported 
against the low armchair, her bare arm curved behind 
her head, her face turned from the light. Her free hand 
had dropped limply into her lap and the gems in her 
strange barbaric rings caught the red glow into their 



DIANA TO THE RESCUE 251 

facets and reflected it back in a hundred changing colors. 
She wore a white sevi, heavily embroidered with gold, 
and all her jewels. Like a tired princess weary of wait- 
ing for a belated prince, she lay there with closed eyes, 
the long lashes resting like shadows on the olive cheeks, 
a faint pathetic smile, suggestive of tears, hovering about 
the tender mouth. 

Diana Chichester knelt down. Something ached in 
her throat. It was all too beautiful — too impossible. 
Here in this commonplace English drawing-room, 
haunted with the shades of honorable but stiff and 
unromantic Englishwomen, this child of Eastern 
splendors had no place. The firelight and the com- 
ing night shades alone brought her understanding. They 
bore her like a jewel in a natural and perfect setting, but 
in a minute an artificial glare and to-morrow the daylight 
would destroy it, and all the loveliness be lost in glaring 
pitiless disharmony. Diana Chichester saw all this and 
suffered both as a woman, capable of passionate sympa- 
thies and as an artist who sees a work of art destroyed 
by ruthless clumsy Philistinism. She looked up and knew 
that Hurst suffered with her. His eyes were fixed on the 
sleeper, and there was a world of tenderness, of reverence 
and pity, written on his pale composed features. 

" 'Such things as dreams are made of," he quoted un- 
der his breath. 

She nodded and suddenly he bent toward her. 

"Di," he whispered, "will you help me — ^help me to 
keep her?" 

Her eyes met his in full and loyal understanding. 

"I give you my second promise," she said. 



252 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

She stretched out her hand to fiim over the quiet 
sleeper, and he clasped it. It seemed to them both that in 
that moment a sacred compact had been made between 
them. When they looked at Sarasvati again they saw 
that the peace bad gone out of her face and that she was 
awake. 



CHAPTER V 

PAYING THE PRICE 

DIANA CHICHESTER sat in the library and read 
aloud. In the adjoining room a low murmur played 
an accompaniment to her own clear melodious voice, and 
once or twice she lifted her head a little, as though against 
her will she listened. Sarasvati lay on the sofa, close to 
the fire, and watched her. There was a gentle wistful 
interest written on her face which seemed to have little 
to do with the subject-matter of their book, and when 
Diana suddenly looked up, troubled perhaps by the steady 
gaze, she met the dark eyes with an amused protest not 
quite free from embarrassment. 

"You are not listening," she said. **I should be inclined 
to think that you never listen only that you say things 
days afterward which show that you paid more attention 
than I did. Have you two minds ?" 

"A mind and a heart," Sarasvati answered, smiling 
faintly. "My mind listens to your words, my heart to 
your voice." 

"And what does my voice tell you?" 
"All that you are and all that you never say." 
Diana closed her book, and coming over to the sofa, sat 
down on the edge by Sarasvati's side. 

"That is mysterious," she said, "as mysterious as your- 

253 



254 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

self. All that I ami Why, that is more than I know. 
What am I, Sarasvati ?" 

"Very brave, very strong. Outside you are cold and 
hard as polished steel and inside the fires burn — ^burn till 
almost they consume you. I see them sometimes in your 
eyes and sometimes I hear them in your voice, but your 
voice is like a tiger's, fierce and quick and tender. On 
your love a man might build his citadel and be safe in- 
deed — " She had spoken dreamily, her eyes half closed, 
and now, as though overcome by a sudden weariness, her 
voice died away into silence. 

For a moment Diana Chichester made no answer, 
her mind less occupied by what she had heard than by 
what she saw. In the full afternoon light which drifted 
in between the heavy curtains David Hurst's wife 
looked strangely, painfully altered. The exquisite 
rounded outlines of her features bad sharpened, there 
was something pinched and wan about her cheeks 
that reminded Diana of faces that she had seen in the 
bazaar at Kolruna — ^the pathetic tragic faces of the child- 
widows and of the older women who were learning to 
accept their slavery but with that resignation which 
demands youth and loveliness in pa)rment. Vaguely 
alarmed Diana took Sarasvati's hand between her own 
and held it with an involuntary unformed desire to pro- 
tect and comfort. Sarasvati's eyes opened. 

'Are you cold ?" Diana asked. 

Tes, very cold." She shook her head as Diana glanced 
toward the fire. *lt is not there the cold — ^but here." 
She laid her free hand upon her breast. "Here in your 






PAYING THE PRICE 255 

country the fires must be strong or they die out," she said 
wistfully. 

Diana nodded. She who knew the Indian sunshine, that 
intense, maddening yet enervating sunshine which seems 
to pour down from the brazen skies only to radiate back, 
laden with the perfume of the flowers and the stench of 
pestilence, with all the vilest and noblest passions of hu- 
manity, knew what this exile suffered. Outside the snow 
lay in thin drear patches, and a wind, icy yet uninvigora- 
ting, swept round the square surface of Hurst Court. 

"Are you not happy, Sarasvati?" Diana asked. "Is 
there anything that troubles you ?'* 

"Nothing now, I thank you. Yes, before you came a 
great sadness was upon me. I was so alone." She made 
a little gesture of protest ?s she saw Diana's face. "Not 
alone, perhaps, but lonely. I have been taught to need 
love. And no hand but yours has ever taken mine in 
kindliness." 

"Sarasvati !" 

She stretched out a slender brown hand with its many 
rings and looked at it thoughtfully. 

"It must be a very ugly hand," she said. "Often I 
have seen how those who came here have shrunk from 
touching it as though it were unclean. It was then that 
I first learnt that I was an outcaste. And yet — is it the 
color that makes it so ugly ? Is it the whiteness only that 
matters ?" 

"Yes, only the color," Diana answered. Her brows 
had contracted ; her eyes shone fiercely bright. "It does 
not matter how coarse, how shapeless, how ignoble a 



u 



256 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

hand may be, so long as it is white." SHe bent her head 
and kissed the long delicate fingers with a vehement ten- 
derness. "So much for the fools and Pharisees," she 
said. "What do they matter to you? You do not need 
them. You have love enough." 

She looked up, her fair lovely face flushed with the 
triumph of an enemy overcome, and her eyes met SarSis- 
vati's. The flash of exultation died down beneath that 
all-seeing gaze. 

You are brave," David Hurst's wife said gently. 
For I know that your heart shrank within you as you 
kissed me. Do not say that it is not so, for I know." 

Diana made no protest. Before- that direct unfaltering 
perception of a truth which she would have refused to 
recognize, all denial seemed futile, contemptible. Only 
another greater truth remained. 

"I despise myself now," Diana said frankly. "For I 
care more for you than I have ever cared for another 
woman, and if I shrank it is because I was born a Phari- 
see and the habits of the Pharisee are appallingly ten- 
acious. Sarasvati, if you know jp much you must also 
know how much these days together have taught me to 
care for you." 

"Yes, I know. You are my friend. You are very good 
to me. Your friendship is like the sunshine that comes 
from afar off, yet warms the heart." She drew herself 
suddenly upright. "But a great river separates us," she 
said in a low broken voice, "and it never can be bridged 
-^never, never, never !" 

Diana rose to her feet. Something in that scarcely 
audible, desperate repetition startled her as a revelation 



PAYING THE PRICE 257 

of a danger hitherto unsuspected. She knew that she had 
passed out of Sarasvati's horizon and that another and 
dearer figure stood before the eyes that stared with so 
much prophetic pain into the firelight. Diana put her 
hand gently on the quivering shoulders. 

"Even if it were true/' she said, " — ^and I won't admit 
that it is true — ^what does it matter to you? You have 
David." 

"I have my husband." It was as though a light had 
been flashed into the darkness of her thoughts. She 
lifted her head and smiled with a joyous gratitude that 
filled the Englishwoman with an odd sense of shame. "I 
know that he is mine. But it is even for his sake that I 
grieve. For have I not learned in these days how much 
he needs the friendship of his people? And I can not 
help him. You — ^yes, how well you help him — I have 
seen the gratitude in his eyes, I have heard it in his voice. 
But I can do nothing — ^I stand between him and his kind, 
his ambition — " 

No," interrupted Diana sharply and almost sternly. 
That is not true. Love like yours could never hinder 
any man. You have becto discouraged and frightened by 
a few prejudiced people who would be suspicious of any 
[foreigner. Could they see you as I see you, and know 
you as I know you, they would learn to love you as I 
have done. But you must not be afraid. You must go 
among them bravely. That is the only way." She had 
spoken with a lack of conviction that disgusted her the 
more because it rang sincere. She realized that she was 
playing a part — the poor weak part of a futile consoler 
—driven thereto by a fear of a danger whose intent she 






2S8 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

could only dimly apprehend. Sarasvati raised her eyes 
and she bore their expression of dawning hope with the 
determination of a general who knows that an error of 
judgment must be atoned for by redoubled energy. 

"And if I went among them bravely," David Hurst's 
wife said, "do you think that one day they would forgive 
me for not being as they are? Do you think that one day 
the opportunity would be given to serve him — as you 
serve him ?" 

And suddenly with those words the danger took shape. 
Diana bent and caught the slender figure in her arms. 

"I am sure," she said with a fierce resolve that chal- 
lenged her own reason. "I am sure. No one could ever 
serve him better than his own wife — as the woman who 
loves him and whom he loves. Only be brave — and pa- 
tient.'' 

The door opened and she turned and saw that David 
Hurst stood on the threshold. He carried his overcoat 
over his arm and a faint flush in his dark cheek told her 
of some suppressed excitement. His glance passed 
quickly from Sarasvati to Diana and there stopped with 
an expression that was familiar enough to her — so famil- 
iar that she had never realized until this moment how new 
a thing it was. Now she indeed realized. She understood 
that it had dawned gradually in these last few weeks of 
common toil and common ambition. Together they had 
built a wall of protection around the frail dark woman 
who bore his name and in the building they had become 
comrades. But the woman whom they protected stood in 
the midst of their protection — alone. AH this Diana real- 
ized in one flash of intuition. Then Hurst spoke. 



PAYING THE PRICE 259 

*'Lord Salby has just arrived from South Africa," he 
said in his quick curt way which had become habitual 
to him. "He has traveled night and day in order to be 
able to lend me his support, and I am to see him this 
afternoon at Ashley, where he is to take the chair at the 
meeting. Mr. Smith has just brought in the news. Di, 
you'll come, too, won't you? I hope that it will be the 
turning-point in my favor." 

Mr. Smith, who had followed close on his employer's 
heels, greeted the two ladies with a profound bow. His 
bright clean-shaven face announced an elated presence oi 
coming victory and a certain amount of innocent self- 
satisfaction, 

"Of course Miss Chichester is coming," he said briskly. 
"If we pull off this little affair to-morrow it will be not 
a little owing to her work and she's got to have some 
of the glory. Miss Chichester, you've done more for the 
party than any other la^y in the whole division — fairly 
talked the people's heads off. Old James, the shoemaker, 
he swore he was going Socialist this time by way of 
variety, but he told me yesterday that he'd changed his 
mind. He said you'd spent the afternoon with him, had 
been so pleasant and convincing and made his head so 
tired that he gave way from pure weariness of spirit. 
That's how to do it. Miss Chichester — ^make 'em tired, 
stop 'em thinking at all costs and the country's safe." 

Diana laughed but she was watching the figure by the 
fireside with an increased apprehension. Sarasvati had 
risen. Her eyes were fixed on her husband's face, her 
lips a little parted as though she were breathing quickly. 

"You are very kind to give me so much credit," Diana 



26o THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

said, ''but I think you must excuse me this afteraooxu 
I have had more than enough of meetings of late and I 
am tired." 

"Tired!" Hurst interrupted blankly. *'I didn't know 
you could be tired, Di. Of course, I don't want to urge 
you ; you have done enough already — ^but frankly I shall 
miss you this afternoon. I have grown to look upon you 
as an indispensable adjutant. I can hardly do without 
you." 

She tried to signal to him to be silent In the light 
of her new understanding each innocent word of his had 
a painful significance. Perhaps in his gratitude he had 
said more than he felt, but his eyes were earnest and even 
troubled. She forced a smile. 

"I am really sorry, David, but I don't think I should 
make much difference this afternoon. You will have 
enough to look after — " She stopped. Sarasvati came to 
her husband's side and laid her hand on his arm. 

"She refuses for my sake," she said. "Husband, may 
I not also accompany you ?" 

In the brief, scarcely perceptible pause that followed 
Diana glanced at Mr. Smith's face and saw that it had 
fallen into lines of blank consternation. The flush had 
died out of Hurst's cheeks, but he looked down into 
Sarasvati's eyes and smiled. 

"Do you wish it ?" he asked quietly. 

"If it would not harm you." 

"Harm me ? How should you ever harm me ! But — '* 
He hesitated. "The people are often rough," he said 
slowly. "Hard things are often said, Sarasvati. They 
might hurt you. For men it is a different thing." 



PAYING THE PRICE 261 

"Diana is not afraid — ^nor will I be afraid/' 

Hurst looked up and met Diana's eyes. This time 
her message was understood. 

"I know you will not be afraid," he said. "If you 
wish it^ — come with me. I shall order the victoria. Dress 
warmly for it is very cold/' 

"I tihank you." Forgetful of the stranger's presence 
she put up her hands to him in an attitude of humble 
gratitude. "You are not angry with me that I have 
asked?" 

"I am glad," he answered steadily. "I want you with 
me always, my wife. Go and get ready. Diana, you will 
come with us and keep her company?" 

Their eyes met a second time over the dark head. It 
seemed to Diana Chichester that he was reminding her 
of a promise given and that she must answer. 

"Of course," she said. "We shall be ready as soon as 
you." She came to Sarasvati and took her passive hand. 
"Come," she said gently, "we must not keep them wait- 
ing." 

Sarasvati lifted her face with a faint tremulous smile. 
Her courage seemed to waver ; she looked from one to the 
other appealingly and nervously, like a child seeking sup- 
port and approbation. But her husband had turned away 
and Mr. Smith's eye avoided her, and she crept silently 
from the room. 

Mr. Smith waited until the door had closed upon the 
two women, then he came quickly across the room. 

"Sir David," he began jerkily but resolutely. "Sir 
David, I shouldn't be doing my duty to you as your agent 
if I did not warn you against this change in your plans. 



262 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

You know what this afternoon means for us all. We've 
had a hard fight for you and Lord Salby's support may 
make the vital difference. He owns half Ashley and Ash- 
ley will vote with him to a man. Sir David, it's against 
my principles and it's a confounded unpleasant thing to 
have to do but I'm bound to tell you the truth. Your — 
your marriage is not popular. It wouldn't be popular, 
anyhow — ^but Grey and that Indian fellow have — ^well 
made the best out of it for themselves. They've worked 
the people up with any number of lies and I tell you 
frankly that it may have cost us a few hundred votes. 
Well, we've fought doubly hard — ^that's all — and I be- 
lieve we'll win yet. But for pity's sake don't bring Lady 
Hurst to the meeting. Lord Salby isn't the man to 
carry off a delicate situation, and you know Ashley. 
They're a rough mining lot — and Grey and his black 
partner have announced a counter-meeting. There will 
be trouble, anyhow, but if Lady Hurst is there I can't 
answer for the consequences." 

Hurst rang the bell. 

'Lady Hurst is my wife," he said simply. 
'Heavens above us — I know, Sir David. But what's 
going to count most — ^the poll to-morrow or Lady 
Hurst?" 

"Udy Hurst." 

The little man gave a despairing sigh. 

"Well, I've said what I had to say and I know better 
than to suppose you'll take any notice of me. You've 
gone your own way all along. Sir David; you've gone 
over hedges and ditches — roughshod most of the time, 
and I've followed you straight — ^you'll admit that much. 



"] 



PAYING THE PRICE 263 

But this is too tall. It will break your political neck, 
Sir David. You can't flaunt your contempt for their 
prejudices in the faces of people whose votes you want." 

Hurst turned and confronted the speaker. His face 
looked calm enough and yet there was a nervous twitch- 
ing about the mouth that betrayed him. 

''You're a good fellow. Smith," he said. "You've done 
splendidly for me — ^you've taught me the ropes and 
helped me as a friend might have done. I'm a mere 
novice at the game I am playing and in your eyes I must 
seem little more than an obstinate boy. But I'd like to 
ask you one thing. You're married yourself, aren't you ?" 

"Certainly, Sir David." 

"Well, would you accept hospitality from a man who 
shut his door in your wife's face?" 

The agent flushed. 

"No, Sir David, I would not/' 

"Then you understand how I feel. I don't want the 
vote of any man who does not accept my wife with me." 

Mr. Smith groaned. 

"You're bringing your private sensibilities into public 
life," he said. "It isn't done, Sir David. It isn't politics." 

"I don't care a brass farthing whether it is politics or 
not," David burst out with a sudden rage. "It's my way 
— ^and I'm going it — ^right to the bitter end." He went 
to the door. "Are you coming or are you not ?" he said 
over his shoulder. 

The little agent buttoned up his overcoat 

"I'm coming," he said. 

The drive to Ashley was a long and silent one. Diana 
and Hurst sat opposite each other, but Diana avoided 



264 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

his eyes. In tfie last hour her attitude toward him had 
changed — subtly yet vitally. A secret, which in the 
weeks of their constant companionship had lain unac- 
knowledged at the bottom of her consciousness, had risen 
in one moment and confronted her. It was a secret no 
longer. She had recognized it and in that recognition 
lay the annihilation of all that had been, the opening out 
of a new vista. As yet, she neither knew by what road 
she was to travel nor by what name to call the change 
that had come upon her. Only one thing stood clear and 
that thing a promise. She pressed her lips together and 
glanced at the figure beside her. 

Sarasvati sat huddled together in the corner of the car- 
riage. In spite of her furs and the closed windows she 
was shivering with cold and there was a blue tinge about 
her cheeks, which made her old and wan-looking. The 
lustrous brown had died out of her eyes ; they stared dull 
and colorless out of the window, and all her rich warm 
beauty which had once seemed so invincible, shriveled 
and faded in the pitiless gray light, like a hothouse plant 
exposed to the cold blast of a winter wind. 

Diana glanced quickly away as though the sight pained 
her, and for a moment held by the force of contrast her 
eyes rested on the man opposite her. Here lay the other 
side of the tragedy. In the swift, almost incredible 
development of the moody stunted boy into a strong 
man, freed from the shackles of his own pessimism, lay 
an -irony of circumstances that filled her with pity. He 
was still young; in certain moments of relaxation his 
rough-hewn features could look boyisK, but they were 
now set in lines of defiant implacable decision that 



• 



PAYING THE PRICE ^5 

made him older than his years and separated him by a 
broad gulf from the David Hurst of Kolruna, the boy of 
unformed desires and bitter inertia. Diana knew when 
he had changed and why. Love had forced him out into 
the battle and given him strength, and love now dragged 
him down, disarmed him for the already unequal fight. 
She wondered if he knew it. 

As they passed the first low-built cottages of Ashley 
she saw that he drew himself up and the skin about his 
jaw whitened with the tension. But he gave no other 
sign. When the carriage drew up before the school- 
house where the meeting was to be held he got out first 
in order to help his wife to the ground, and a crowd of 
village yokels cheered him. But the cheer died quite sud- 
denly to silence. It was a silence half hostile, half cu- 
rious. The members of the committee who had come out 
to greet the arrivals seemed oppressed with an extraor- 
dinary embarrassment. They shook hands with Diana 
and with their candidate and bowed to Sarasvati, but 
their welcome seemed to have frozen on their faces. 
Squire Morell, who claimed seniority, broke the silence. 

"Lord Salby has not yet arrived," he said stiffly. '*We 
are expecting him every minute. If the — ladies would 
take their places perhaps you would wait for him in the 
committee room, Sir David. Mr. Smith, will you show 
the way." 

The agent obediently elbowed a passage through the 
crowd and Lady Hurst and Diana followed him. The 
schoolroom, transformed for the occasion into a fair 
sized hall, was already filled to overflowing and there 
were hostile elements in the closely packed assembly as 



266 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Mr. Smith knew well enough. His practised nose 
scented trouble in the close atmosphere and before he 
had gone half a dozen steps in the direction of the 
reserved seats his fears were confirmed. There was an 
uneasy movement, a craning of necks, a low murmur 
that broke out here and there into exclamations, laugh- 
ter and "boo's" of open mockery. Mr. Smith kept 
countenance. He had endured worse things but at the 
bottom of his eager enthusiastic soul he cursed the alien 
woman at his side. 

Sarasvati clung to Diana Chichester's arm. In the 
midst of this curious hate-filled crowd of rough country- 
men her courage seemed to fail her utterly. She was 
trembling and the fur hood which had slipped back 
on to her shoulders revealed a face that had lost all 
trace of loveliness — in a paroxysm of fear. In that 
moment all that was most oriental in her, most anti- 
pathetic in her race, seemed to rise to the surface of her 
being. The veil of her divine origin had been wrenched 
roughly from her and she became what the hostile eyes 
saw in her — a common native woman, a creature of an 
inferior and despised race. Mechanically she took her 
place in the front row before the platform and the in- 
termittent jeering broke out afresh, mingled this time 
with half-hearted counter-cheers. 

David Hurst heard them. He stood alone in the commit- 
tee room where he had been left at his own request. He 
had feigned a momentary indisposition and the committee 
members, themselves ill at ease, had willingly accepted 
the excuse to await the arrival of Lord Salby. Hurst 
drew back into the recess of the old-fashioned window 



PAYING THE PRICE 267 

from whence he could watch the crowd outside. He felt 
nauseated, overcome by a disgust with himself, with the 
coarse-faced men whose favor he was about to crave, 
on whose good will depended his whole future. He 
hated them with a hatred that seemed like a rebirth 
of his old laming misanthropy. Now, as then, his whole 
energy and thought fought for an outlet for the right* 
to serve; now, as then, a barrier arose and cut him off 
from those to whom his service was dedicated and thrust 
him back into a deeper loneliness. 

In the world in which he was fighting for place he had 
no friends. The men who supported him acted out of 
principle, a little perhaps because they saw in him the 
man of mounting ability; but not out of friendship. 
There could be no friendship between them. There 
was the barrier, unnamed but insurmountable. He had 
broken the law of caste and his punishment was inevita* 
ble and most logical. He faced it now without flinch- 
ing. He heard the jeering laughter that had greeted his 
wife's entrance and set his teeth. That, too, was part 
of his punishment. He had forced his way into 
the world and she had striven to follow him. 
Her love had brought the highest sacrifice with- 
out complaint. But it had been in vain. She was not 
of this world. Like a haunting spirit of fancy she had 
crept out into the garish reality and had faded to a poor 
piteous shadow of herself. The daughter of Brahma, 
the child of gorgeous oriental imagination had died, he 
had lost her, with his old dreams in the fight after the 
world's rewards, and in her place stood the native, the 
barrier between him and his kind. He felt no pity for 



268 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

himself. He was pa)dng the just price — ^but he had done 
wrong to the woman to whom he owed all that he had 
become. She suffered. He remembered her strange 
fears of the '^shadows" which would one day claim him. 
They had claimed him and, as she had prophesied, the 
light in her had gone out. Yes, he had done wrong but 
only in so far as he had brought her into a battle against 
the narrow-hearted prejudices of the world. The battle 
he had fought was a just one, but he was losing — ^had 
lost — and as is the way of things the woman paid the 
highest indemnity. 

A carriage rolled up to the door of the schoolhouse. 
Hurst saw a tall fair man step quickly out and respond 
with a careless good nature to the hearty reception of 
the crowd outside. Hurst threw back his dark head with 
a movement of bitter contempt. This then was the popu- 
lar fox-hunting lord whose debts, so rumor had it, were 
regularly paid by his Hebrew wife, and who had come 
to patronize him and help him over the disadvantages of 
his mesalliance. Hurst laughed out loud. But he was 
beginning to feel the rise of a violence that was new to 
him. He heard voices outside — a low murmur of greeting 
— ^and then loud boisterous tones which drew rapidly 
nearer. 

"Who the devil was that?" David Heard. *'What! 
Lady Hurst? Good lord — ^you don't say so? I didn't 
know it was so bad as that Why, man alive, one doesn't 
marry that sort of thing !" 

There was a laugh. David Hurst turned and came 
out of the alcove. Through an unsteady shifting mist 
Ke saw Lord Salby standing in the doorway against a 



PAYING THE PRICE 269 

background of frock-coated followers, and he went up 
to him and struck the red smiling face with a calculated 
swift precision. There was no impulse in the action. It 
seemed to him that everything in the last few months had 
led up to this outbreak, that the torment of the last few 
minutes had been but the goad to drive him to a final 
step. When the mist cleared and he found himself stand- 
ing alone in the middle of the room he felt no surprise 
at what he had done, no regret — ^at most a physical re- 
lief as though some numbing pressure had been lifted 
from his brain. Lord Salby was leaning against the 
wall, his handkerchief to his cheek, and thrusting off tHe 
solicitor's committee with an impatient hand. 

"And who may this blackguard be?" he asked with a 
forced ironical calm. 

"My name is Hurst," was the quiet answer. "And you 
are the blackguard — ^not I. Were we in another country 
I should demand another and better satisfaction than that 
of merely telling you so. Let me pass !" 

They made no attempt to detain him. Outside in the 
passage he came face to face with Diana Chichester. 

"Where is Sarasvati ?" he asked. 

"I don't know. She disappeared quite suddenly from 
my side. I thought she had come to look for you." 

"Perhaps she has gone home. We will follow her." 
'David — ^but the meeting!" 
There will be no meeting," he said between his teeth. 

After that she followed him unquestioningly. Outside 
the carriage awaited them, but no one had seen Lady 
Hurst's departure. Hurst gave the order "home" and 
helped Diana to her seat. "We shall overtake her," he 



"] 

4t' 



270 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

said witH curt decision. For five minutes they sat side 
by side in an unbroken silence. Then Diana could bear 
it no longer. She laid her hand on his knee. 

''David," she said, "tell me what happened." 

He looked at her sightlessly. 

"He insulted her," he said. "I knocked him down. 
That puts an end to it all." He spoke very quietly and 
turned away from her as though to watch the road. But 
she saw that his shoulders shook. 

"David," she said scarcely above her breath. "How 
much you wanted to win I" 

He nodded. 

"Yes, I wanted to win. But it can't be helped." 

Then he broke down. He buried his white face in his 
hands and though he made no sound, no movement, she 
felt all the violence of the silent storm that had broken 
over him. And in that moment all prudence, all sense 
of danger was lost in the desire to comfort him. She 
sought wildly for the means and being a woman found 
them. 

"David," she said gently, "do you remember a night 
at Kolruna — ^two years ago— when I told you that I 
despised you?" 

He nodded without speaking. 

"I want to tell jjou now — ^that I respect — ^that I honor 
you more than any man whom I have ever known," 
she said. 

He did not look up or answer, but he caught her hand 
and kissed it in passionate gratitude. 



CHAPTER VI 

RAMA PAL 

LADY HURST had not gone home. She had crept 
out of the schoolhouse, past the little laughing and 
talking group of new arrivals, and had made her way 
quickly down the half-deserted street. She had no des- 
tination in that moment — scarcely a purpose save that 
of escaping from the intangible horror that pursued 
her. At first she had felt nothing. The cold had frozen 
her and numbed her capability of feeling. The noise 
had beaten against her brain without reaching her under- 
standing and the crowd around her had been like a 
tossing tempestuous sea, fiaked with white. Then, quite 
suddenly, half a dozen words had reached her and had 
burned themselves in* her heart, and she had understood. 
A man standing close to her had called out, "We don't 
want no dirty niggers in our party," and she had looked 
up and found his angry bloodshot eyes fixed on her with 
savage significance. For a full minute she had looked at 
him, bewildered, incapable of grasping the brutality of 
the attack, and there must have been something in her 
face which shamed her aggressor for his eyes sank and 
he slunk back behind his fellows. 

But he had done his Work. As though his words had 
been a releasing spell the noise had broken into distant 

271 



2/2 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

sounds; she had heard the jeering laughter, the taunts 
coupled with her husband's name. The white flakes 
had become faces out of which the eyes stared at her 
like points of living fire, burning their way into 
her innermost soul. And then panic had come — 
a desperate headlong panic that had given her no 
time to think or to realize what she was about 
to do. She had risen unnoticed, and like a wild hunted 
animal, fought her way to the door, out on to the street, 
and stumbling blindly over the rough cobbles, fled from 
the malice-laden laughter and the searching cruel eyes 
of her tormentors. She had seen nothing. She passed 
her own carriage and did not know it. Her inexperience, 
her instinctive fear of her husband's race, broke through 
the seeming conformity and confidence that her ori- 
ental pliability had allowed her to assume. She was 
alone in a strange land, among a people who had shrunk 
from her as from a leper. They had cursed her and she 
had fled out into the bleak piercing cold of their winter 
rather than face them. It was not only fear ; something 
in her — something altogether nameless — ^had been wound- 
ed and trampled under foot. Caste, religion, faith in her 
own divine origin had been torn from her and yet in 
that moment she regained her sanctity and with it the 
knowledge that she had been wantonly defiled. 

Little by little fear died wholly. The sense of outrage 
grew overmastering and as she stopped at last, panting, in 
the shadow of a cottage doorway, she looked back the 
way she had come with eyes of scorn and a passionate re- 
sentment. It was already dusk. A piercing dank wind 
swept down the length of the street and cut through her 



RAMA PAi: 2^l 

clothing so that she drew her furs about Her and witli 
chattering teeth crept instinctively to the wall. Not 
once had she thought of her husband and she did not 
think of him now. Thought was still stunned. Like a 
sick man recovering slowly from some frightful bout of 
pain she leaned back with closed eyes and let the balm 
of peace pass over her deeply wounded soul. Then the 
door of her refuge opened and a rough woman's voice 
broke in upon her silence. 

"Who's there ? We don't allow no loafers about here. 
Move on, will you?" 

She made no answer. She did not even look at the 
speaker but glided softly away into the darkness. The 
possibility that as Lady Hurst she might have gained 
the woman's respect and hospitality did not occur to her. 
The fact that she was Lady Hurst had passed out of her 
consciousness. She was Sarasvati, once daughter of 
Brahma, now an outcaste and a wanderer in a foreign 
land, and she hurried on, her unaccustomed feet tortured 
by the uneven cobbles, her limbs trembling with' cold 
and exhaustion. Suddenly she stopped. A shadow had 
sprung up in her path. In her blind panic she did not see 
whence it had come nor value its true dimensions. It 
seemed to her a phantom — the personification of that pur- 
suing horror, and she crouched back against the wall of 
the low-built houses, waiting in paralyzed silence. The 
shadow remained before her, standing between her and 
the western sweep of sky where the daylight was fast 
dying out in gray melancholy, and at last her eyes dis- 
cerned the face bent down to her in impassive patience. 

"Sarasvati, I have to speak with thee." 



274 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Something exquisitely painful, exquisitely joyous, 
flashed through her. In the drear darkness there had 
broken a shaft of light, warming the sick cold terror of 
her heart. 

"Thou speakest mine own tongue," she said softly, al- 
most inaudibly. "Who art thou?" 

"Another of an unhappy race," the man answered. He 
lifted his cap, and she recognized the dark skin, the clean- 
cut and noble features, marred only by a subtle sugges- 
tion of cruelty and sensuality, which were the marks of 
her caste. 

"What wilt thou of me ?" she asked. 

"I would ask of thee a question, Sarasvati, daughter of 

. Brahma," he returned. "I would ask of thee if thou hast 

utterly forgotten thy people and the land which gave 

thee birth, or whether thou hast become the willing slave 

of their oppressors." 

Sarasvati drew back from him. 

"I have not forgotten my people nor the warmth and 
sunshine of my country," she answered. "Nor have I be- 
come the willing slave of an oppressor. Thy words are 
darkness to me." Yet she spoke tonelessly, like a child 
stammering a lesson, without conviction. 

The man before her caught her by the wrist. 

*T-ook at mel" he said in a voice that vibrated with 
suppressed passion. "Are not my cheeks hollow and my 
clothes those of the merest beggar? Aye, a beggar, a 
Pariah, an outcaste have I become, though no drop of 
Pariah blood runs in my veins and though, were justice 
done, the sacred sign of Vishnu should be between my 
brows. Look at me, I say! The greatest princes of 



RAMA PAL 275 

India have bowed before my race and I stand before thee, 
powerless, casteless, faithless." 

"Faithless !" she echoed, as though the word had struck 
some deeper chord. Then swiftly — ^"Who has done this 
thing to you ?' 

"The man to whom thou hast given thy life, Sarasvati, 
the people to whom he belongs." 

"It is not true !" 

"It is the truth ! I swear it by the gods whom I have 
forsaken and who have forsaken me. His people stole 
me — gave me to the missionaries that they might defile 
me and take me from the faith of my fathers. Well they 
have succeeded. They taught me to despise all that I 
had honored, they taught me their ways and their knowl- 
edge ; they sought to drive into me their slave's religion 
that I might become their slave and then" — ^he raised 
his clenched fists with a movement of uncontrollable 
execration — "then they spat upon me. They told me, 
though I had become a Christian, I was not one of 
them. They patronized and scorned me; they called 
me brother and would not touch my hand; in their 
own country they shrink from me as from a leper and in 
their streets I starve — ^my body for bread, my soul for 
God and the fellowship of my own people." 

He stopped, panting, his features working in a convul- 
sive grief, and she. did not answer. She listened to him 
as to an inner voice and her heart ached with pity and a 
numbing apprehension. 

"And so is our country — our Mother India," he went 
on fiercely, "defiled, ground under heel, disintegrated by 
the subtle machinations of devils who would sap our 



276 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

strength by taking ns from our faitfi, sundering our 
castes, tearing father from son, mother from daughter, 
husband from wife. And thou also, daughter of Brahma, 
to whom the people looked to guide them in the great 
struggle of the future — ^thou also art accursed." 

"Accursed 1" she echoed in dull agony. He bent closer. 

"Why art thou here?" 

"I was afraid—" 

"They taunted thee. Is it not so ? They taunted thee 
because thou art not as they are — ^they taunted him 
that he has taken thee to wife." He pointed back to the 
glistening lights of the village. "And the hour will come 
when he, too, will taunt thee — ^yes, thy husband for whom 
thou hast given up God and people will turn from thee 
because thou stoodest between him and his kind, between 
him and fame. The hour will come when thou shalt He 
at his feet like a withered cast-off flower and he will turn 
his eyes to the fair faces of the white women. The hour 
will come when thy child will taunt thee for that thou hast 
given him, an outcaste life." 

She cried out then — 3, stifled cry of agonized protest — 
and his hold upon her wrist tightened. 

"Daughter of Brahma— come ! Thy fate, thy god, thy 
people call thee. Great has been thy fall, but the way 
back is open. With the blood of those who have defiled 
thy altars shall the shame be washed out Daughter of 
Brahma—" 

He stopped. Unheard by either of them, a carriage 
and pair had turned the comer of the highroad, and now 
drew up so sharply that the horses reared and plunged 
in nervous resentment. The door opened and the next 



RAMA PAL ^yy 

instant David Hurst was at his wife's side. He caught 
her in his arms. The movement was almost violent, as 
though he had snatched her back from the jaws of de- 
struction, and his face was white and drawn-looking. 

"Sarasvati — !" he said hoarsely. 

She lifted her face to his ; there was something written 
in her wide-open, fear-stricken eyes that made her seem 
a stranger to him. 

"Sarasvati — " he repeated in fierce question. 

Her lips parted ; her little hands groped over his coat in 
a desperate effort to hold him and then suddenly, with a 
sigh, her eyes closed and she lay heavy in his arms. He 
held her closer. She was so light, so fragile that he 
scarcely felt his burden. In that moment of physical up- 
heaval, of overmastering scorn and anger for the forces 
ranged against him, the thought of her loss — his own de- 
feat seemed far off and impossible. Then he looked up 
and over his wife's head saw Rama Pal — waiting and 
watching. In silence the two men faced each other, as 
they had faced each other twice before in their lives. 
The Hindu had replaced his cap and his attitude was im- 
passive, almost indifferent. The Englishman studied him 
with icy contempt. 

"Rama Pal," he said, "you have come here as my 
enemy. Is this your gratitude?" 

The Hindu bowed his head. 

"This is my gratitude. Lord Sahib," he said. "I have 
a debt to pay to the Lord Sahib and his people. I shall 
never rest until my debt is paid." 

He salaamed in grave mockery, and then turned and 
strode away in the direction of the village. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE GOAL PASSED 

OUT of the darkness shadows began to rise — ^vague 
indefinite forms, shapeless figures flitted silently 
against the blank background, then shapes which each in- 
stant grew clearer and brighter, more familiar. Sarasvati 
watched them as from afar off, like some lost spirit view- 
ing the passing of an old loved world. White robed 
priests, tall, majestic pillars reaching upward to the 
azure dome, minarets bathed in golden sunshine and 
about all a lulling healing warmth, rich with the perfume 
of the flowers. She held out invisible hands in wordless 
greeting to this world which sank beneath her in a haze 
of dreams while she rose upward, bom by an unknown 
power, into a limitless space where there was no light, no 
darkness, no substance, no consciousness, no existence. 
And out of the silence a voice reached* her, breaking like 
a storm into the emptiness, and called her "Sarasvati, 
daughter of Brahma" and seized her and dragged her 
down, faster and faster, through an icy merciless wind 
which cut deep into her soul and roused her to a dull 
numb sense of pain. "Sarasvati, daughter of Brahma !" 
The voice passed into silence — ^all passed — ^all save the 
pain and bitter penetrating cold. 

278 






THE GOAL PASSED . 279 

She opened her eyes. As a prisoner awakes from 
dreams of freedom to find the drear daylight creeping 
through the barred window, so Sarasvati awoke to the 
reality of the four walls of the low ceilinged bedroom, 
to the melancholy gray twilight which hung ghostlike 
about the ponderous mahogany furniture. She drew a 
quick shuddering breath and the dank air, which not 
even the blazing wood fire could warm, was like a knife 
piercing through her lungs. She lifted herself weakly 
on her elbow and immediately a hand pressed her gently 
back among the pillows. She turned her head and saw 
that Diana Chichester was seated on a low chair at her 
side. 

"Where am I?" she asked in a whisper. "What has 
happened ?' 

"Nothing has happened — nothing serious. You fainted 
and now you must just lie quite quiet — ^and wait." 

"For what have I to wait ?" She read the answer in the 
Englishwoman's grave and tender eyes and she lay still 
watching the shadows which the firelight threw on to the 
drab-colored walls. "Will it be soon?" she asked tone- 
lessly. 

**Very soon, dear." Diana knelt down by the bedside 
and drew the smooth dark head against her shoulder. 
"Are you afraid?" she asked. 

For a minute Sarasvati did not speak. She passed her 
delicate hand over Diana's with a movement of caress 
that was indescribably pathetic in its endeavor to console 
and reassure. 

"Not for myself am I afraid," she said under her 
breath. "But for him." 



28q the daughter OF BRAHMA 

"For whom, Sarasvati ? For David ?" 

"No, not for my husband." She did not offer to 
explain, but presently she drew back a little so that she 
could look into Diana's face. "Do you think that I shall 
die ?" she asked timidly. 

"I am sure that you will not,'* Diana answered with a 
faint smile. "Why should you think of such a terrible 
thing?" 

Sarasvati's eyes closed for an instant. A deep line of 
pain had drawn itself across the smooth forehead. 

"Is it so terrible?" she said half to herself. "I wonder 
if it can be more trouble than life. Do you think so, 
Diana?" 

"I don't know — no one knows," Diana answered. "I 
meant that it would be terrible for David and me. For 
you — one can't tell what it would be — ^we don't know 
what lies beyond." 

"You do not know — you who are so wise and good? 
Does no one know ?" 

"They say they know — ^and some believe — ^but life and 
death are all mysteries." 

There was a little silence. Sarasvati's brows were 
knitted in earnest thought and when she turned again 
to the fair-haired woman beside her, her face was almost 
severe in its profound grief. 

"You do not know who God is," she said. "You do not 
know the mysteries of life and death. Once I knew. 
Once I knew God, and the Beyond was as a ball of purest 
crystal. Now all is darkness. For those who do not 
know have told me that my faith is a lie." 

Diana Chichester rose to her feet. She had been 



THE GOAL PASSEQ 281 

brought suddenly and cruelly face to face with the 
tragedy of a soul. "Those who do not know have told 
me that my faith is a lie," It was an accusation against 
her and her kind. She took Saravasti's hand in hers and 
held it in a strong grasp as though she was striving by 
that touch to reach the very depths of the exile's unhappy 
heart. 

"Whatever we believe is true as long as our faith 
lifts us higher than ourselves," she said earnestly. "Do 
you think that humanity — let alone God— can be com- 
passed in one religion, or that God, who has made nature 
in a hundred forms, can only show Himself with one face 
and under one name? Think and believe what you can; 
our dogma can not make God other than He is." 

Sarasvati drew herself up on her elbow. A light 
burned in her eyes — ^a light of uncertain yet eager hope. 

"And if I could believe again— that God was here — 
in my breast — in you — ^in every tree and flower — in my 
own child — and if I was wrong — and God was as they 
taught me — ^a far-off Judge — would it separate my lord 
from me — ^hereafter — in death?" 

Her words came in broken disjointed sentences, and in 
that unconscious return to the old title Diana recognized 
a character and love that beneath the surface had re- 
mained unchanged, almost untroubled by contact with 
the world. Diana bent down and passed her hand over 
the black smooth hair. 

"Do you think God could be so petty?" she said 
simply. 

Still the burning eyes held her. 

"And tell me — ^you are truthful and good — you will 



282 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

not He to me. Is it true that I am accursed — ^tfiat my 
son will be accursed — ^that he and I shall be outcastes — 
exiles among my lord's people? Is it true that he and I 
shall stand between my lord and his kind — ^between him 
and happiness — ^and fame?' 

"No," Diana answered steadily. *'It is not true." Yet 
she knew that she had lied and that the eyes knew. She 
turned away. "I shall tell David that you are awake," 
she said with an effort. "He will want to see you.** 

She slipped from the room and hurried after the foot- 
steps which she had heard retreating to the library. Her 
heart ached. That which had been strongest in her — ^her 
joyous self-confidence — ^sank before the bleak prospect of 
the future, and as she laid her hand on the library door 
she hesitated, frightened of herself and of the man she 
was about to face. Then she went in, quietly and reso- 
lutely. 

"David," she said in a low voice, "Sarasvati is awake 
and wants to see you." 

He turned from the window where he had been stand- 
ing. He had on his driving coat, and his expression be- 
trayed a nervous restlessness. 

"I am waiting for Smith," he said. "When he comes 
I shall go to her. How is she ?" 

"I think she is as well as possible." She came a step 
nearer. "David," she said gravely, "you must never let 
her know. I want you to promise me. It would break 
her heart You must never let her know that she stands 
between you and— everything. She wanted to help you, 
but even now the fear is there. Promise me !" 

He looked at her. Unconsciously, she had come quite 



THE GOAL PASSED 283 

close to him and he could see that her eyes were dim 
with tears. He stretched out his hand as though to take 
hers, and let it drop limply to his side. 

"You have no need of my promise, Di," he said. "How 
could I hurt her when it is not her fault? It is and was 
my fault — ^and, after all, it is much better that I should 
fail. If I were elected she would have to go on with the 
fight, and in the end it would kill her. As it is — when 
the business is all over — I shall shut this place up and get 
away — right to the other end of the earth — somewhere 
where people will leave us to live our lives in peace." 

"And your work — your ambition?" she broke in im- 
pulsively. 

"That's all over," he answered. "It was mad and 
wrong of me ever to have thought of it. I see now — 
and — and I can't — I haven't the right to make her suffer." 
He smiled whimsically as he saw her face. "I am sorry, 
Di. I know that it's a disappointment for you. You 
wanted to make me a great man in spite of myself but 
you see I'm a hopeless case. You must just look upon 
these last few weeks as a bit of charity nursing thrown 
away on an incurable failure — ^and — well, I know what 
you think of failures." 

"You don't know," she broke in with a burst of her 
old storminess. "You insist on confusing me with your 
mother and there couldn't be a worse mistake. What do 
you think I care whether you succeed or fail — ^in the eyes 
of the world? You have succeeded in mine." 

"I should like to know how," he said. He spoke lightly, 
with a trace of sarcasm in his tone, but he had flushed 
under the energy of her glance. 



284 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 



V 



Diana turned away from him. She picked up a silver 
ornament lying on the table and played with it in a kind 
of feverish impatience. 

"You have succeeded in being yourself,*' she said al- 
most angrily. 

"You mean — I have gone my own way?" He gave a 
little movement expressive of doubt. "But going one's 
own way does not necessarily mean going to the devil, 
as you once so cheerfully suggested, Di. It means swim- 
ming against the stream and, though the individual may 
think the stream is running in the wrong direction, I 
am beginning to question his right to try and upset the 
divine order of things. After all, when ninety-nine sheep 
agree that it is better to stay in pen the hundredth is 
wiser, if he accepts their verdict, even if he yearns after 
fresh pastures. The ninety-nine are the majority and 
are bound to be right." 

"You are talking nonsense," she said gently, "and 
you know it The world has been made by its excep- 
tions." 

"Disturbed, rather," he corrected. "Lucifer was the 
first exception and his children have all played the same 
unhappy part. But all that is beside the point." His 
manner changed suddenly. "It's no use my philosophiz- 
ing. I have chosen my part. I have made up my mind 
to be in the wrong — that is to say, in the minority — and 
I am prepared to take the consequences. There was only 
one mistake in the declaration of war that I made to you 
in Kolruna. I ought to have gone my own way — 
alone, Di." 



THE GOAL PASSEQ 285 

She started and looked up at him. 

"You saved her life," she said. 

"Have I? Or have I broken her heart?" 

"David — " she began, but the memory of a pinched 
wan face silenced her. Her inability to compromise pre- 
vented her from entering on a long protest or offering 
him some cheap and trite consolation. Broken-hearted? 
Yes, that was the one description that suited these 
hungry pleading eyes. "Can it be more terrible than 
life ?" Sarasvati had asked respecting her own death, and 
in that question had betrayed the uncomplaining, scarcely 
recognizable grief which lay at the bottom of her love. 
"You must take her away from here," Diana said reso- 
lutely. "If anything is breaking her heart it is our out- 
rageous climate. Take her back to her own country — ^she 
is too delicate a plant to stand so rough a soil." 

"I can't," Hurst answered. "It isn't safe. I heard 
only this morning from Professor Heilig, and he warns 
me to keep my wife out of India. The common people 
believe that she was spirited up to Heaven, but by this 
time the priestly party knows where she is and will spare 
no pains to recover her — and incidentally put a knife 
into me." He gave a short laugh. "Of the latter pos- 
sibility I am not afraid, but it is my duty" — ^he hesi- 
tated, as though the word displeased him — "my duty to 
the good folk in Kolruna to prevent the possibility of 
a conflagration. You know, I suppose, that things are 
rather troubled again over there?" 

"Yes," she said. "I heard from my father that there 
IS mischief brewing. It is rather hastening my return." 



286 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

He had been standing by the window in impatient ex- 
pectation and he started round now, a sound that was 
like a suppressed cry breaking from his lips. 

"Your return — ^Diana — ^you are not going back?" 

"Yes," she said steadily. "I meant to tell you before 
— ^but I am going back to my people next month." 

He strode across the room until less than a foot sep- 
arated them. His face was colorless, his black brows had 
met over the short straight nose in a threatening line 
that lent his whole expression an energy akin to vio- 
lence. She braced herself, facing unfalteringly the mo- 
ment which she had known since yesterday to be inevi- 
table. 

"You are not going back," he said slowly and dis- 
tinctly. "You can not go back. In the present state of 
things it is not safe for any woman to be in Kolruna." 

"My mother refuses to leave my father and I refuse 
to leave them both," she answered. 

"There is another reason," he said between his teeth. 

She felt herself flush under his savage miserable eyes, 
but her voice retained its steadiness. 

"What other reason should there be?" she asked. 

For a period of time which seemed to her endless he 
studied her, seeming to be searching her to the soul, then 
only his features relaxed and softened. 

"I am sorry, Di," he said quietly. "Even if there was 
a reason I should not have the right to ask it. I think 
all this work has been getting on my brain. You will 
stay with us until — ^until she is safe." 

"Yes," she said. Her breath was coming more easily. 
The moment was over. He had been suddenly brought 



THE GOAL PASSED 287 

face to face with a circumstance which she had recog- 
nized and fought with hours before. She knew what was 
passing in him, for she, too, suffered, and she was con- 
scious of a curious pride in his calm and regained gentle- 
ness. "I shall stay as long as your wife needs me," she 
added quietly. 

He smiled — ^the old one-sided smile which in that 
moment hurt her by its unconscious resignation. 

"That will be a long time, Di," he said. "You have 
been such a splendid friend to her. She will miss you 
more than she knows. But it can't be helped. Others 
have more claim on you." He took out his watch. "The 
doctor has promised to be here with the nurse by six," 
he went on. "He told me there was nothing to — ^to fear 
for the next few hours. But I am glad you are staying 
with her. One can't tell — ^and you would let me know 
at once, wouldn't you?" 

"Of course, David." 

He stood, hesitating, at the door. 

"I think I'll go and see her now. Tell Smith when he 
comes to wait down-stairs for me. I shan't be long. 
Good-by." 

She felt that he was looking back at her. The desire 
to go to him and take his hands, to offer him, if only in 
that silent farewell touch, her understanding and sym- 
pathy, broke over her with a violence that frightened her. 
She fought it down and nodded to him with a cheerful 
courage. 

'Good luck and a big majority I" she said. 
Thank you." He closed the door softly after him 
and went down the corridor to his wife's room. He was 



"( 



288 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

not conscious of any particular sensation. After that 
sudden violent flash of pain a kind of numbness had 
crept over him which kept him mercifully from himself. 
He scarcely knew whence the pain had come. Diana was 
going. Well, that was inevitable. She would marry 
Hatherway. That was almost as inevitable as the rest. 
Dick had always kept his place in the running. He was 
a good fellow. Diana would be safe with him. But he 
wished she had not said that about the "big majority". 
It was almost as though she had laughed at him. And 
he had fought hard — ^as hard as he had once run in those 
children's races when he had always been beaten and 
when her good-natured laughter had stung him to an im- 
potent frenzy. But that had been in the days when he 
had loved her. It was strange — ^that time seemed closer 
to him, more real than the present. 

He opened his wife's door and entered on tiptoe. She 
lay in the center of the great four-poster, her small dark 
head thrown back upon the dead white of the pillows, 
the two plaits of black hair hanging over either shoulder 
in symmetrical order. The delicate arms lay stretched out 
on the coverlet and she seemed to sleep. 

Hurst drew closer, but he did not touch her or speak. 
He stood at the foot of the bed and watched her. She 
might almost have been a child, so pathetically small and 
fragile did she appear in the wide old-fashioned bed, and 
yet her face was that of a woman who had suffered. He 
saw the lines of pain about her mouth and the hollow 
cheeks, but he felt no tenderness, no pity. He only knew 
that he was glad that she was asleep. He could no longer 
draw himself back into the atmosphere to which she be- 



THE GOAL passed; 289 

longed. The time when he could have thrust the world 
and the turmoil of life behind him and enter freely into 
her domain was past. He felt no bitterness but a frozen 
indifference which ached dully, persistently, like an old 
reopened wound. It hurt him. He strove to shake it 
off — ^to arouse himself to a normal natural feeling. He 
called to mind that this was his wife and that she stood 
on the border-land of death. But he felt nothing. She 
was a total stranger to him. He could not place her in 
his life. It was difficult for him to understand how she 
came to him in this solemn, dreary English bed- 
room where generations of his race had first seen 
the light. Only when he shut his eyes and recalled 
the memory of a temple shrine lying in the midst 
of the waters beneath a sky of unchanging blue 
did she become real to him — as a vivid dream is 
real to the dreamer. But it was no more than a 
dream, and when he looked at the motionless figure 
lying before him it faded wholly. She was only the 
shadow of that half-divine being who had knelt before 
the altar in the midst of the dying lotus blossoms, and 
she had become a shadow in his life. 

He turned and left the room as quietly as he had come. 
A kind of mental weariness shielded him from the re- 
morse that had been stealthily creeping over him, keep- 
ing measure with the fading of her image from his mind. 
He realized that to-day is inevitably the child of yester- 
day and that this disease had not come upon him sudden- 
ly, but subtly and imperceptibly. Or was it a disease ? Was 
it not rather the awakening of his abilities, stunted by dis- 
couragement and his own diffidence, the natural desire 



290 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

to enter the world's lists and leave the unreal world of 
dreams behind him? The dreams had been a temporary 
refuge — a phase of his development — ^and she who be- 
longed to them, who was a stranger to the world, had 
been a stepping stone — ^to what — to whom? He shut 
his mind sternly against the answer. Stronger than 
either remorse or love was the sense of his responsibility. 
He owed her his life — ^and that she should have to the 
last hour. To-day was to see the end of his brief part 
upon the world's stage. To-morrow the waters would 
close over him and her, and life narrow down to the old 
dimensions. 

He faced it calmly, resignedly, and Mr. Smith, 
who waited for him in the hall, was struck by 
something new in his manner, a certain aloofness, as 
though what was to come was for him already a part 
of the past. The two men took their places in the car- 
riage, and for a long time the loquacious little agent hesi- 
tated to break the silence. He had intuition enough to 
know that this man beside him, young and inexperienced 
politician though he was, had passed out of his control. 
Presently he ventured to ask if Lady Hurst was doing 
well, and receiving a courteous affirmative, he grew 
bolder. 

"Any number of the Ashley folk have been inquiring 
after her ladyship," he said. "One of the pit hands — as 
dirty a fellow as you can fancy— came after me this 
morning and told me he had changed his ticket. It had 
struck him that a man who stuck up for his wife like that 
must be worth more than a ranting demagogue with a 



THE GOAL PASSED 291 

>• 

black liar to back him, and that his wife must be worthy of 
him." 

Hurst glanced at the clean-shaven face, suspecting a 
clumsy consolation. 

"Well, that will be one vote, anyhow, " he said, smil- 
ing. "I'm afraid, though, that yesterday has settled my 
fate." 

Mr. Smith raised one eyebrow. 

"One never knows," he said. "Of course, Lord Salby 
is against you, and a lot of high dignitaries are sitting on 
the fence — ^too shocked to get down, bless you — ^but still, 
a good knock-out blow appeals to the dear B. P. almost 
as much as a bit of romance, and they got both yesterday. 
No, one never knows." 

"What do you mean?" Hurst demanded. 

"Just what I said," Mr. Smith retorted, taking a re- 
vengeful satisfaction in being mysterious. "One never 
knows." 

They reached the outskirts of Great Hampton. On the 
way, they had passed a long straggling procession of 
dog-carts, brakes and drays gaily beribboned with the 
colors of the three candidates, and packed with vocifer- 
ous partizans to whose cheers and good-natured "boos" 
Hurst had responded with the same smiling equanimity. 
Here he unconsciously stiffened and set his teeth. The 
crowds which filled the narrow streets of the old-fash- 
ioned town were in another and less good-tempered mood, 
and he knew it. He felt the atmosphere of excitement 
and aroused passions and the proximity of that intangible 
force that makes a gathering of respectable citizens 
into an unmanageable brutal mob. Here the jeering was 



292 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

sharpened to animosity, and the cheering to an answer- 
ing and defiant war-cry. 

From the walls, where usually innocent advertisements 
announced the superlative virtues of soaps and baking 
powders, gaudy and satirical postecs strove to reach the 
buried intelligence of the electors by means of flam- 
boyant appeals and crisply assertive phrases. Hurst 
sought out his own with a boyish curiosity which custom 
had not staled. He knew that by comparison they were 
not effective — "too gentlemanly" Mr. Smith had styled 
them — and yet he was glad that he had kept to his own 
way and his own methods. It was his one consolation 
in defeat that he had fought with his own weapons, and 
that they had been clean. 

At the corner of High Street a little knot of women 
— ^mine hands, judging from their appearance — cheered 
him and the gust of shrill harsh voices whipped the blood 
for the first time to Hurst's cheeks. Mr. Smith, who 
saw the change, suppressed a chuckle. 

"Not quite so indifferent, after all, my dear sir," he 
thought, and then added aloud : "They like you. Sir David 
— ^politics apart. You're young and a trifle Byronic, shall 
I say? and you appeal to the women. There's nothing 
women of all classes like better than a figure round which 
they can weave a romance. The sterner and blacker and 
more indifferent you look, the more they'll love you. At 
the bottom of her heart, a woman loathes a lady's man." 

Hurst nodded inattentively to this piece of wisdom. 
The carriage had broken through the crowd, and now 
drew up smartly against the curb. Here, also, a decided 
cheer greeted him, and he yielded to a transitory sensa- 



THE GOAL PASSED 293 

tion of success that died down suddenly and completely 
as he entered the committee room. On the faces of his 
official supporters he read the unmistakable presages of 
disaster, and there were more absentees than he cared 
to count. Squire Morell came forward to meet him, his 
florid face expressive of that cheerful melancholy which 
laments somebody else's misfortunes. 

"The great day come at last!" he said, as they shook 
hands. "Hope for the best, Sir David, but our news 
isn't of the brightest. There's been a lot of falling off 
since yesterday, I'm afraid. Lord Salby has — eh — re- 
fused his support." The last sentence was spoken in an 
undertone — Hurst answered aloud. 

"I did not wish or expect him to do otherwise," he said. 

Mr. Smith coughed to cover over what he considered 
as unparliamentary folly, and Hurst passed on to receive 
the funereal hand-shakes of his remaining adherents. 
They hovered about him like birds of ill-omen, disheart- 
ened and disheartening, and out of their words and sup- 
pressions he read reproach not unmixed with malice. 
They had supported him because he headed their party, 
but his conduct in alienating his strongest friends had 
betrayed their cause, and his defeat gave them a bitter 
triumph. 

"After yesterday there isn't a vestige of hope," Mrs. 
Morell remarked in a stage whisper to a friend. "Lord 
Salby's action has turned all Ashley against us, and Lady 
Hurst's conduct has sent all the waverers over to the 
Liberal side. No one wants to vote for a candidate who 
uses that sort of tactics." 

Hurst overheard the observation, but gave no sign. 



294 THE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA 

He had schooled himself to an appearance of indifference 
— ^if only for his wife's sake. He went out on to the bal- 
cony, and there the agent joined him. That astute and 
alert personage had wrapped himself in cheerful mys- 
tery. 

*T11 just run across to the town hall and see how soon 
the results may be expected/' he said. "You wait here. 
Sir David, and don't let these good folk get on your 
nerves more than you can help." 

"I'll do my best," Hurst answered, smiling. 

He remained alone on the balcony. Immediately be- 
neath him the crowd eddied in increasing excitement, 
and occasionally faces were raised to him in non-com- 
mittal interest. Was he, or was he not the man whom, 
in a few minutes, they would cheer as victor? The tide 
had been against him in the last twenty-four Hours, and 
there had been rumors of sweeping changes in the elect- 
orate. It seemed to Hurst that they eyed him with 
suspicion and a little pity as a more than possible failure. 
One face he recognized. He had never seen it otherwise 
than expressionless, but, in that brief instant, he saw it 
light up with a hatred, a triumph that was more tigerish 
than human. He stared back, steadily and calmly, but 
his teeth were ground together. Those dark impassive 
features seemed to haimt his life; they had appeared to 
him at every critical moment, threatening with calamity, 
and he knew that now they pronounced his defeat. And 
still he gave no sign. He had grown very calm, and the 
sudden silence in the crowd beneath seemed to have its 
birth in his own brain. 

His glance wandered aimlessly across the square. 



THE GOAL PASSED 295 

From the balcony of the town hall, a man in official 
robes was apparently giving out some notice, but the 
significance of his presence, like the sound of -his voice, 
was lost to Hurst. He had ceased to think, to calcu- 
late, even to desire, and the roar of cheering that came 
rolling across the square like the wave of a suddenly re- 
leased flood left him unmoved. He looked about him, 
expecting to witness the arrival of a rival candidate, but 
he saw only the white sea of faces — ^he heard only his 
own name. He turned unsteadily and confronted the 
little crowd of dazed and puzzled supporters. 

"What has happened ?" he asked. 

Squire Morell shook his head and came out on to the 
balcony. 

"What is it?*' he shouted to the crowd. "What are 
you cheering for?*' 

A brawny woman raised her arm. 

"Sir David — ^you're in !" she called shrilly. "It's Ashley 
that's done it — ^and don't you forget it — " 

She was swept away in a surging sea of excited men 
and lyomen, and the squire turned to the white-faced 
man beside him. 

"It seems — " he began, clearing his throat and torn 
between annoyance, bewilderment and satisfaction, " — it 
seems positively that you have been elected. Sir David !" 

Hurst gripped the rail of the balcony. 

"There is some mistake," he said with dry lips, and 
fought down thq wild hope that had risen out of his 
numb resignation. 

As though in answer, the door of the committee room 
burst open and Mr. Smith, red-faced, and for once in his 



296 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

life beside himself, elbowed his way respectlessly through 
the intervening group of silent and uncertain supporters. 

"We've done it!" he said, endeavoring to speak with 
professional calm, arid failing signally. - "We've done it, 
Sir David! The results are out — ^it was Ashley that 
turned the tide — ^they came over like one man — ^upset 
every one's calculations, but not mine — I told you one 
never knew." He struggled with himself, and then seiz- 
ing Hurst's hand shook it. "Greatest triumph of my life. 
Sir David ! Go out and speak to 'em — straight from the 
heart, for, by the Lord, it was the people's vote that did 
it — z popular victory right off your bat. Go on, sir — 
they're shouting for you. A three-hundred majority is 
something to be thankful for under the circumstances." 

Impetuously, Hurst sprang back on to the balcony. Not 
till now had he known how desperately he had wanted 
to win. The iron self-control which he had mustered ,to 
meet defeat threatened to desert him in this swift revul- 
sion from resignation to the certainty of success. The 
gates to his chosen career stood open to him and hope 
beckoned. His mother would hear to-morrow by cable, 
and Diana to-night! Diana! Diana! He wanted to 
stretch out his arms in immeasurable relief and grati- 
tude. The goal was passed — ^he had won the right to 
serve. The curse of failure had been taken from his life 
and something new in him, a fierce joy in his own exist- 
ence, a smothered fire of consuming ambition, blazed 
into flame. He stood for a moment looking down on 
the now silent, eagerly waiting crowd. He was smiling 
— ^unconsciously, with a frank exultation that gave him 
back his youth, and all the joyousness of youth. It was 






THE GOAL PASSED 297 

easy to be eloquent now— easy to thank this people who 
had chosen him as their representative in the greatest 
of the world's parliaments. They had given him some- 
thing inestimable — ^the right to his existence. 

Yet, even as the first words fell from his lips, some 
one touched him on his arm, and he turned and found a 
servant, wearing the Hurst livery, beside him. 

If you please, Sir David," the man began breathlessly, 
will you come at once? Miss Chichester sent me after 
you an hour ago, but the crowd delayed me. Her lady- 
ship has been taken ill — quite suddenly — ^just after you 
left—" 

"A speech — a, speech — !" sounded loud and imperative 
from the street. 

"Speak to 'em. Sir David !" the little agent demanded, 
almost angrily. "Now is the time to prove what you're 
made of !" 

Hurst passed his hand over his forehead. The mo- 
mentary exultation was gone, leaving him terribly calm, 
terribly clear of perception. The woman to whom he, 
at least in part, owed this burning hour of success, had 
been forgotten. He had not once thought of her. He 
had thought of Diana Chichester, of his mother, but the 
frail pathetic figure of his wife had faded wholly from 
his horizon. She had sacrificed her life and faith for him, 
and in his heart of hearts he had reviled her ; by her love 
she had given him the strength to win this battle — and 
what had he given her but this one fact that he had not 
thought of her? Remorse, too, was silent. Something 
more terrible than his own guilt confronted him. Fate, 
that predestinating force which is no other than a man's 



298^ THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

own character, had once more revealed herself with all 
her sense of tragic irony, inevitable, cruelly consequent. 

"Hurst — ^Hurst — ^a speech — !" 

He recovered himself without an apparent effort 

"See that the carriage is brought round to the side 
door," he said quietly. "Mr. Smith — ^will you address 
the people for me ? Lady Hurst has been taken seriously 
ill." 

He pushed aside the detaining remonstrating hands. It 
was as though a shadow of the past had overtaken him 
in the full-blooded reality of the present. It stood be- 
tween him and his world, a pale yet insurmountable bar- 
rier, and he knew that, of all his dreams, this dream of 
ultimate success that had been the most chimerical. 

An hour later he knelt beside the great four-post bed- 
stead, with his face buried in his hands. Sarasvati was 
lying almost as he had left her, very quiet now, very pale, 
with a line of physical suffering drawn about the com- 
pressed mouth. Something dark lay protected in the 
curve of her arm, and now and again a faint whimpering 
sound broke the tense oppressive silence. Presently 
Diana Chichester, who stood white and exhausted by 
the window, saw the heavy lightless eyes open and rest 
for an instant on her own face, and then pass on to the 
kneeling figure at the bedside. For a long minute there 
was no movement. Then Sarasvati laid her hand on her 
husband's head, and over the wan features there spread 
a light of ineffable pity. 



I -i 



BOOK IV 



CHAPTER I 

THE SAPPERS 

BETWEEN Hampstead and Maida Vale there is a 
pleasantly situated street flanked on either side by 
neat villas dear to the English heart by reason of their 
tenacious adherence to uniformity and stamped by the 
carefully trimmed box-hedges which mark the boundary 
of the minute lawns as eminently respectable. Stock- 
brokers, business gentlemen, whose names, ending eu- 
phonically in "heim" and "stein/* suggested consanguin- 
ity, widowed ladies of youthful appearance keenly inter- 
ested in church work and inexhaustible on the subject 
of "my late dear husband," an occasional star in the the- 
atrical world, half tolerated, half lionized by the rest — 
such were the types that domiciled in the red brick walls 
and lived elsewhere. The villas had numbers,* but they 
were rarely referred to, and for the most part irate cab- 
men were instructed to discover Forest Lodge, Mal- 
plaquet House, or The Pines, as the case might be, by 
the light of "new-art" lamps, whose radiance was more 
artistic than effectual. 

At the Corner one house had had the temerity to 
differentiate from its companions. Doubtless it had 
been built before the golden age of toy turrets, weather- 
cocks, latticed windows and gable, for it was uncom- 

301 



302 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

promisingly simple in structure and disgraced the rest 
of the "Park" by its indifference to the prettiness of 
lace curtains and symmetrical flower-beds. Like the rest, 
however, it rejoiced in a name, and Indra House was 
written in stiff black letters on the gate-posts. Nobody 
knew very much about the inhabitants. It was vaguely 
understood that a few select Hindu gentlemen belonging 
to the legal profession had united to form a suitable home 
for students of their own nationality, and color was lent to 
this supposition by the regular appearance toward dusk 
of respectably dressed individuals, undeniably oriental in 
feature and complexion, who passed noiselessly into the 
gloomy and unexplored precincts. At first the tenants 
of Malplaquet House, Forest Lodge and The Pines pro- 
tested against what they called the "ruining of a select 
neighborhood," but little by little the obvious inoffensive- 
ness of the new neighbors silenced the most sensitive, 
and Indra House was allowed to sink into mysterious 
oblivion- 

On a certain evening about three weeks after the open- 
ing of Parliament a young Hindu entered the uncared-for 
garden, and after having glanced sharply around him, 
rang the bell which was marked by the harmless in- 
junction "Tradesmen only," There was no immediate 
response and he waited patiently, his eyes traveling 
meanwhile in keen search down the pathway, dimly 
lighted by the street lamp. There was no one to be seen, 
however. The characterless drizzle that polished the 
neat paving-stones to silvery reflectors of the gas-jets 
kept even the servant girls within doors, and satisfied that 



THE SAPPERS 303 

he was alone tHe visitor repeated his summons, this time 
ringing three times and allowing a brief but apparently 
calculated interval between each peal. Then the door 
opened and he stepped into the bare, poorly lighted hall. 

"Swaraj !" he said to the dark-skinned servant and re- 
ceiving the low answer, "Kali !" he nodded and passed on. 

The room which he now entered faced the doorway 
and by a curious construction ended the passage, leaving 
only a small space for the narrow winding staircase. It 
was a very ordinary apartment, plainly furnished and 
suggested the reading-room of a third-class club. A few 
papers lay scattered on the table — ^the Times, the Daily 
News, an illustrated monthly, a law journal — a miscel- 
laneous but inoffensive collection. A Hindu youth stood 
by the fireside. He was of the type more commonly seen 
in the low resorts of the East End — a miserable figure, 
destined from birth to go under in the struggle.. His 
clothes were threadbare and confirmed the silent testi- 
mony of the hollow cheeks and wild sunken eyes. An ob- 
ject for pity — or of fear. As the door opened his hand had 
slipped to an electric bell on the mantel shelf, then per- 
ceiving who the newcomer was, his arm dropped limply 
to his side. 

'Swaraj !" the elder man said quietly. 
Kali !" The youth by the fireside glanced toward the 
second door. "They are all there," he added. "They 
await you.'* 

"Do you keep guard?" 

"Until I am needed." 

There was an underl)dng significance in the answer, of 






304 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

which the new arrival seemed fully aware. He glanced 
keenly at the emaciated yet still agile figure and at the 
eyes with their smoldering blaze of fanaticism. 

"You are indeed among the chosen ones, brother," he 
said and crossed the room. 

The second door opened stiffly and revealed yet a 
third which was apparently locked from the inside. A 
twice-repeated tap, however, caused the key to be 
turned and he passed into the adjoining room, paus- 
ing a moment on the threshold with a graceful ges- 
ture of salutation. A party of twenty-five men seated 
at the long table returned his greeting, and he took 
the vacant place near the center. His companions were 
all of his race, though not all of the same branch of 
that race. Both in the cut of their features and in 
their general appearance they were divided into two dis- 
tinct groups of which the Hindu seated at the head of the 
table represented the more important. He was unusually 
fair-skinned, and that peculiarity, together with the cold 
gray eyes and regular handsome features, stamped him 
unmistakably as a Chitpaven Brahman. He was care- 
fully, even elegantly dressed, and his haughty bearing 
contrasted with that of his vis-a-vis, a small delicate-look- 
ing man, whose restless movements and swift-changing 
expression associated him with the youth in the adjoining 
room. At the one end — cold, calculating, cunning — at the 
other, intelligence, weakness and incalculable fanaticism. 
As the newcomer took his seat the Brahman turned to 
him with a slight inclination of the head. 

"We have waited for you, Rama Pal," he said. "The 
general arrangements have been made but I understand 



THE SAPPERS 305 

that you also have your suggestion, and in that case pre- 
ferred to wait before despatching the final orders." 

Rama Pal glanced sharply down the length of the table. 
Of all the men present he was unquestionably the young- 
est, and a dull glow of triumph burned up in his hollow 
cheeks. 

"I am proud of your confidence," he said in his low 
musical voice, "but it would be better that I should first 
know what has happened. My proposition concerns only 
the signal." 

"Our news is of the best." The Brahman drew a sheet 
of paper toward him and referred to it with a stately 
satisfaction. "Our agents have arrived without mishap 
and the weapons are safely concealed both in the Temple 
of Kali in Calcutta and in the vaults at Kolruna. The 
press has been urged to adopt a more conciliatory tone in 
order that suspicions may be lulled, but the various asso- 
ciations, schools and gymnasiums are in full possession of 
the facts and are hard at work. On the second of March 
the following manifest will be issued in every state of 
India." 

He took up a harmless-looking English novel lying on 
the table and opening it somewhere about the middle, 
read out loud in his own tongue : 

"Brothers, children of one Holy Mother, the hour has 
at last struck when the yoke of slavery shall be cast off 
and the oppressor driven from your gates. Arise and in 
the name of Durga use your weapons until no single 
demon defiles our holy soil! In freedom alone is our 
salvation. Behold, the gods who witness our weakness 
and cowardice turn from us, but to every man who dips 



3o6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA! 

his hand in the blood of a white goat it shall be counted 
more than all the virtues. Arise, the power which holds 
you subject is but a myth — ^an evil dream which clouds 
your vision. Truth, religion, greatness were yours before 
your t3rrants had won the wisdom of children. Recon- 
quer what is lost — ^unite, and, with the help of our 
gods, the Holy Mother shall be forever cleansed from 
shame. Act as one man and the power of her enemies 
shall be forever broken," 

He stopped and there was a low murmur of applause. 
The Brahman glanced about him. He had spoken in a 
voice that rang metallic like the clash of steel, but there 
was a faint cynicism about the finely-cut mouth that har- 
monized better with his now complete change of tone. 

"On the second of March the signal will be given 
from the temple in Calcutta, and as soon as the city is in 
our hands the call to action will be transmitted to every 
state in India. There is scarcely a possibility of failure 
if we act together. We are a hundred to one, and we 
are armed." 

"And the first act — ?" The Bengalee leaned forward 
eagerly. 

"Will be the assassination of the viceroy. Ghose Has 
the bombs ready and five proved men will be placed along 
the route so that he can not escape. At the same hour 
in England an attempt on the life of the prime minister — 
a more dangerous and difficult matter, but it is essential 
to prove our strength and determination to ourselves and 
to oui* enemies." 

The Bengalee lawyer passed his nervous hand over his 
mouth. 



THE SAPPERS 307 

"Has he consented?" he asked with a glance toward 
the door of the adjoining room. 

"How should he do otherwise ? He has at most a few 
months to live, and gladly chooses the patriot's death." 

"Is there any hope that we shall receive assistance 
from our friends over here?" 

The Brahman's lips twisted scornfully. 

"A few Socialist papers may offer 's3;>mpathy* for our 
aims, which they do not even understand. They fancy 
we believe in their dogs' creed of equality, and it is better 
that we should appear to conform. Afterward, when the 
battle is won by our own means, the power will return to 
the ruling castes and remain there." 

The Bengalee lifted his eyes. For a brief significant 
moment of silence the two men measured each other. 
Then, as though deferring an inevitable hour of reckon- 
ing, the Brahman turned to Rama Pal. 

"You have heard the general outline of our plans," 
he said. "The details are in reliable hands and have 
been carefully considered. In eight weeks the war of 
independence will have begun — ^it behooves us, there- 
fore, to weigh every suggestion. We have learned to trust 
you, Rama Pal, and Nana Balagi has spoken of your re- 
instatement into our caste. Prove yourself worthy and 
it shall surely be done." 

Rama Pal bowed his head. 

"My suggestion concerns only a detail," he said, "but 
over details the greatest projects have come to ruin. You 
say rightly that if we hold together we are irresistible. 
But we have never held together and that danger threat- 
ens us now. We need a rallying cry which will appeal 



3o8 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

to all alike. Patriotism ? Patriotism is as yet the watch- 
word of the few. What do the common people, without 
whom we can not hope for victory, know of patriotism ? 
For generations they have been ground under the heel 
by aliens and their own soil has become foreign to them. 
Call them by a name that will arouse their fanaticism and 
the lowest Sudra may become a hero." 

"By what name, since patriotism is dead?" 

"Faith remains." 

"In what god? Has not faith died also beneath the 
hand of the oppressor?" 

"Among us surely — in the hearts of the people it still 
glows. One great call and the ember will burst to a con- 
suming flame." 

The Brahman smiled with mingled bitterness and 
satire. 

"In the name of what god, I ask you ? Has not each 
village its own god, whom each other village denies?" 

"There is one goddess in whom all India believes to- 
day. This generation has seen her with their own eyes 
caught up to heaven in the midst of flames. Pilgrims have 
carried her name from end to end of India. Legends have 
woven themselves around her. There is no heart that does 
not stir at the name 'Sarasvati'." 

"Sarasvati — ?" There was a murmur, half of amuse- 
ment, half of incredulity. Rama Pal sprang to his feet 
with a fiery gesture that was like the outbreak of a 
long suppressed passion. 

"You laugh ?" he cried. "I tell you that that night at 
Kolruna — if she had spoken the words that had been put 
into her mouth no earthly power could have saved the 



THE SAPPERS 309 

Englishmen. And I tell you, that if she were to appear 
again in the temple and call our people to arms in her 
name, the miracle would spread over India like a fire over 
dry stubble. No hand that could hold a sword would hang 
idle. The Englishmen and the traitor princes would be 
blotted out. Do you think that I dream? At the heart 
of our country there is a force which we dare not neglect 
— ^ weapon which we must use before the accursed ones 
have blunted it." 

'"You are right/' the Brahman interrupted, "but you 
forget one thing — ^the daughter of Brahma, as she is 
called, has become an Englishwoman. She has followed 
an English husband. Our power over her is at an end." 

Rama Pal leaned across the table. 

"In three days I will bring her to you," he said. 

"By force — ? That is too dangerous. It is not our pol- 
icy to create suspicion." 

"I do not speak of force. She shall come to you of her 
own free will — of her own free will pronounce the great 
call to the country of her birth." 

There was a stir of smothered excitement The Brs^- 
man's eyes had narrowed. 

Tou promise much," he said. 
^No more than I can perform." 

"Her husband — ^this David Hurst — ^will follow her — if 
need be to India." 

"That is as I wish it We sliall meet" 

"And then—?" 

The outcaste's face grew, stiflf— once more perfectly 
impassive. 

"Then a debt will be paid," he said simply. 






CHAPTER II 

XHE PASTING OF THE WAYS 



« 



AND so it's good-by for a few montfis," Diana Qii- 
. Chester said, "Shall I greet India for you, Saras- 
vati? Is there anything I can bring you when I come 
backr 

Sarasvati turned her head a little. She was huddled 
together in an armchair by the fireside, and the reflec- 
tions deepened the shadows beneath her eyes and on the 
hollows of her cheeks. ^ 

"Greet the sun and the sky for me," she said weakly. 
"And bring me back — ^no — ^no, bring me back nothing." 

*'Good-by, then. And God bless you." 

A wan smile passed over the parched and colorless lips. 

"I thank you. Will you not say good-by to my son ?" 

"Of course I will." Diana crossed to the cradle that 
stood near the window and bent over it. She saw a sleep- 
ing child whose dark features were already stamped with 
a terrible unchild-like knowledge of suffering. Despite 
the difference of years, she was reminded of a man's face 
as she had once seen it in the mysterious half-light of an 
Indian night. In miniature there were the same features 
— ^the same look of inarticulate pain — only the skin was 
darker and the curved lines of the mouth were foreign to 
her memory. This was David Hurst's son — the heir to 

310 



THE PARTING OF, THE WAYS 311 

power and a noble English name. She kissed the veined 
forehead and a tear fell on the closed eyelids. 

"When I come back he will be quite grown up," she 
said with an unsteady laugh. "How proud you will be 
of him." 

"Proud? Oh, no, my son is going to die." 

Diana Chichester started. The quiet words had ex- 
pressed a thought that she had not dared even to for- 
mulate. She turned round, schooling herself to an ex- 
pression of indignant protest. 

"How do you come to think of such a thing?" she ex- 
claimed. "The worst is over — ^the doctor said so." 

"The doctor does not know. But I know. He is my 
son. It is well so." 

Diana smothered an exclamation. 

"Well so?" she echoed. "What do you mean?" 

"Yes." Sarasvati's thin hand dropped apathetically in 
her lap. "It is well so." Then, with a sudden change of 
tone. "Did not Lady Salby tell you — I have ruined 
David's life — all his hopes?" 

Diana came back to the fireside. Her brows were 
knitted. 

"No," she said. "She would not have dared, because it 
is not true. David won his battle." 

"Yes, yes, he won. But what Lady Salby said was 
true also. She told me the truth — not as you would do, 
but in her own way. She sipiled as she told me, but I 
knew then that she hated me — ^as they all hated me." 
An expression of sudden complete exhaustion passed 
over her features. "Oh, yes, it is well that my son 
should die. He must not suffer — and in this world there 



31^ THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMiS 

is no place for him« Good-by, Diana, you have been 
very good to me/' 

'T)on't— dear ! It's been so terribly little.'' 

Impulsively the Englishwoman knelt down, clasping 
the almost powerless hands in her own. She felt op- 
pressed by a prescience of disaster; the atmosphere, in 
spite of the damp cold which hung about the comers of 
the great square room, stifled her. The rattle and roar of 
the traffic outside came to her ears like the threatening 
rumble of distant thunder. Had she done wrong? Was 
there anything in all this dtunb misery which could be 
laid at her door ? 

"It has been terribly little," she repeated brokenly. 
"Sometimes I feel that it has been worse than nothing — 
that it would have been better had I never come into 
your life." 

Sarasvati freed her hand and laid it gently on Diana's 
shoulder. A light crept into the dark suffering eyes 
which was very tender, almost compassionate. 

"You have asked your God to bless me," she said in 
her low tired voice, "and I, too, would bless you, beautiful 
Englishwoman. But I have lost God. Should I find Him 
once again I will ask Him to surround you and him you 
love in all the warmth of His sunshine. I will ask Him to 
thank you — as I thank you — for your love and pity. Re- 
member that — always — ^that I blessed you." 

Diana stumbled to her feet. She could not bear the 
steady gaze of those eyes. They seemed to penetrate to 
the secret which she would have given her life to hide. 
They threw their light into the darkest places of her heart 



THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 313 

and forced her to look on and see that which was con- 
cealed there. 

"Sarasvati — !" she cried out. 

And suddenly a pair of thin weak arms was thrown 
about her neck and for a long minute the two women 
held each other in an embrace that bridged every gulf. 
Race prejudice, the inheritance of generations, dropped 
below the horizon of their lives. In that last moment of 
farewell they rose triumphant above the mists of human 
blindness and recognized in each other the humanity com- 
mon to them both. 

"Remember!" Sarasvati whispered. "Promise to re- 
member !" 

"I promise !" Diana answered brokenly. 

And thus they parted. Diana Qiichester stumbled down 
the wide staircase, past Hurst's library. She knew that he 
was there — only a door separated them — ^and it was per- 
haps the last time she would be able to see him for many 
years — ^yet she crept on her way stealthily, like a thief 
who fears detection. Then the door was violently opened 
and through the gloom he saw and recognized her. 

"Diana!" he exclaimed. She came back mechanically, 
against her will, and they looked at each other for a mo- 
ment in an unsmiling silence. "I did not know you were 
in the house," he went on. 

"I have come to say good-by." 

"But not to me, as it seems," He motioned her to pass 
him into the room, "Surely we have the right to say 
good-by to each other," he said with a short unsteady 
laugh. 

She did not answer him. He did not invite her to sit 



314 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

down, nor did it occur to her to do so. The feeling of 
suffocation had become torturing. The dismal London 
fog which hung about the room stung her eyes and throat 
and seemed to distort the ponderous furniture into 
shapeless and threatening shadows. Even Hurst had 
changed. He had gone to the mantel shelf and, with his 
lame foot on the fender, was staring sightlessly in front of 
him. It seemed to Diana that he had grown bigger, and 
that there was a brutal force in the set of his square 
shoulders and in the lines of his dark face. 

"You start to-morrow?" he began abruptly, without 
looking at her. 

"Yes, to-morrow. I am traveling with Mrs. Jame- 
son, who is rejoining her husband at Calcutta." 

"I am glad you will not be alone. You are going into 
the midst of danger, if Heilig says true. There is mis- 
chief brewing out there." 

She nodded. 

"I am rather glad — ^glad that I shall be in the midst 
of it, I mean. The inactivity tires me — I feel that I need 
danger, even privation. The life of a woman in London 
is like the constant whirl of a wheel in mid-air — ^it goes 
on but it brings you nowhere, and sooner or later the pur- 
poseless motion sends you mad, or turns you into a chat- 
tering fool." She clenched her hands with an involun- 
tary movement of impatience. "Yes — I am glad to be 
going," she said between her teeth. 

He lifted his eyes to her face. 

"I can understand that so well — I wish to God I was 
going into the midst of a fight." 

"You, David!" She forgot her momentary flash of 



THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 315 

anger in an instinctive alarm. "You have your work and 
your fighting here," she said with a forced cheerfulness. 
"My uncle told me that the prime minister, as well as your 
own leader, has congratulated you publicly on your 
maiden speech, and who knows that it will not be the 
seed which will grow to a great reform in our treatment 
of our Indian subjects." 

"It may be the seed," he returned, "but I shall not 
watch its growth." 

"Why not?" 

"Because in a few weeks my career as a member of 
Parliament will have come to an end." 

"David !" 

He turned a little, his back to the fire, his elbows sup- 
ported on the mantel shelf. 

"Yes, it's been a mere flash in the pan," he said stead- 
ily. "I often remind myself of a bad rocket that sputters 
and kicks before it is induced to go off and then after 
an ineffectual exhibition comes down like a stick. There 
are many of my kind, Di, and it's no use being bitter 
about it." 

"How dare you!" she broke in with a fierce gesture. 
"How dare you, David ?" 

The gloomy eyes lit up with a momentary gleam of 
satirical amusement. 

*'Dare, Diana ? Has one not the right to say the truth 
— ^at least about one's self ?" 

"You have not the right to throw unjust taunts at 
yourself, or any one," she retorted quickly. "Every taunt 
is aimed at somebody's faith." 

"Who believes in me?" he broke in. 



1 



3i6 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"I do.** 

He threw back his head so that his eyes escaped hers. 
He had grown very pale and the knuckles of his clenched 
fists were white as polished ivory. 

"Thank you," he said. "But as I have said — it can't 
be helped, Di ; and my little outbreak just now was only a 
weak spiteful kick at fate. You see, the doctor was herd 
yesterday. The child — " he passed his hand over the 
thick black hair with a movement that belied the quiet 
matter-of-fact voice. "There isn't much hope — indeed 
none. He never was fit — and now the climate has broken 
the little vitality he had. That has to be faced. Then 
there is Sarasvati, herself. Doctor Meadows warned me 
that she must either be taken back to her own country 
or go south. England is killing her." 

Diana's eyes rested blindly on the book whose leaves 
she had begun to turn over in an increasing fever of un- 
easiness. She dared not look at the man opposite her. 
He had spoken with a dangerous unnatural indifference 
which warned her at what degree of repression his emo- 
tions were being held, and presently he went on in the 
same level tone. 

"You understand what that means. Even if I would I 
couldn't let her go alone. And so there is no choice. I 
shall resign my seat as soon as I decently can and then 
— ^then that'll be the last of dear old England and my 
feeble endeavors to render her a service. I expect it is 
better as it is." 

"David!" she broke out. She looked up at him, her 
eyes now dim with tears. "Oh, David — it's too sad. I 
want to comfort you — ^but I can't. There is nothing that 



THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 317 

I — ^that any one can do. That is the awful — ^hopeless 
part of it. If one could only give a few years of one's 
life in payment — " She stopped abruptly. She had seen 
the dark flash spread over his drawn face and suddenly 
the abyss yawned between them and she knew that an- 
other moment, another impulsive word and the disaster 
would be there. She drew herself up, her fine brows 
unconsciously contracted. "But one can't," she went on. 
"And words are almost an insult. I know that you 
will be strong enough. You will find your place yet, 
David, and my faith will be justified. Good-by." 

He ignored her tremblingly outstretched hand. He did 
not leave his place, but the violence which quivered be- 
neath the surface seemed to take hold of her. She felt 
herself weaken — b, kind of faintness crept over her limbs, 
and only by a supreme effort of the will did she retain her 
outward composure. 

"Good-by, David," she repeated. 

"Wait!" His voice shook, then steadied to a mon- 
otonous level. "There is something I want to ask you 
before you go, Diana. It is quite likely that we shall 
not see each other for many years — ^probably not again, 
and I have the right to take some little consolation with 
me — some token of our friendship. You said at Ashley 
that you respected me more than any other man. Did 
you mean that, or was it said out of pity — ^to console me?" 

"No," she said. "I said it because it was true." 

One step nearer — ^and yet she could not have lied under 
these searching desperate eyes. 

"Why do you respect me now? In Kolruna you de- 
spised me. I have not changed." 



3i8 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"You have changed — ^and I have changed. You have 
awakened to the possession of your own powers and I 
have suflfered. Then I was blind in conceit, my young 
arrogance. I saw in you only another of those others 
whom I despised — ^men who looked upon their sport and 
the opinion of their conventional world as their only end 
in life. From the moment that you dared to marry as 
you did I knew that I had misjudged you. But it was 
too late.'* 

"Too late!" In one vivid flasK she saw how he had 
interpreted her words. Panic, fear of herself and him, 
seized upon her and yet with a last eflfort she turned to- 
ward the door. 

"Good-by— David— " 

He lurched forward. She felt rather than saw him 
pass her, and when she looked up he barred her way, 
his face bloodless, his eyes savage and distraught. 

"Diana !" he said between his teeth. "You can't go- 
no — ^not if to stay were my own damnation — " 

She recoiled, struggling to free her hands from his 
wild clasp. The disaster was there, sweeping down be- 
fore them both like a terrible black annihilating flood. 
And in that crisis she regained her strength. She looked 
him steadily, significantly in the face. 

"Is your or my damnation the worse evil?" she said. 

He stared at her. Unconsciously his hands released 
her and fell to his side. The madness in his face burned 
down to an ashy calm. 

"Have you forgotten the compact on which we built 
our friendship?" she persisted. 
He understood her then. The tense muscles relaxed. 



THE PARTING OF THE WAYS ' 31Q 

He turned away and, limping to the table, sank down, his 
head supported on his hand. In the long unbroken silence 
that followed she watched him with a tenderness free 
from all fear, all remorse. The storm had broken over 
them and they had battled through victoriously. The 
waves that had threatened to engulf them had borne 
tliem to a barren safety, and here for one short breathing 
space they were free to face each other, and in the 
sanctity of farewell acknowledge the truth which filled 
their lives. 

"David !" she said, scarcely above a whisper. 

He stirred, but did not lift his face. 

"Have I forfeited your friendship — ^too?" he asked 
brokenly. 

"No, my dear one. Ilvow s'lould you? It was and is 
my fault. No, let me speak, David. Were we other than 
we are I would not dare say what I am going to say. 
If we regulated our conduct by human law, which we 
are sometimes pleased to call the law of God, it wouldn't 
be safe. It's not in either of us to care much for the 
one or believe in the other, and if that was the only bar- 
rier between us we should be over it in a minute. But 
there is something else — ourselves. We're rather alike 
in that, David — we set up our own standards and we 
have to keep to them. If we sought our happiness at the 
cost of another— of some one whom we love and have 
sworn to protect — then we should be deliberately deny- 
ing our own characters and the punishment would be in- 
evitable. At the same time — one thing I believe myself 
free to do — and that is, part from you with the truth out- 
spoken between us. I love you, David." 



320 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

He half rose, but she motioned him back with a move- 
ment of such dignity that he sank down again, watching 
her in fascinated silence. 

"I know that the world would blame me for tell- 
ing you so," she went on, "but the world is hypo- 
critical and the world is not my judge. I am not 
ashamed of caring for you as I do — and if I feel re- 
morse gnawing at my heart it is not because I have 
learned to love you, but because I have learned to love you 
too late. I understand now — in my arrogant childish 
blindness I would not look below the surface of your 
disabilities — I would not see that in you was the thing 
for which I had searched vainly in others. I let you go 
and it was granted to another — ^and worthier — to do 
what it would have been my glory to do — ^to set you 
free and awaken you to your own strength. It is my 
punishment, and that I do not bear it alone makes it 
worse. I have not only hurt myself, but you and her. 
That is the curse that I shall carry with me always." 

He rose slowly to his feet. The haggard face whicQ 
he turned to her was illuminated by a high resignation. 

"No curse rests on you, Di," he said quietly. "You 
have not hurt me, at least — I have hurt myself. I am 
just an unsatisfactory character — I think perhaps a little 
like my father. We both wanted success and we went 
against ourselves to win it. But it wasn't for the sake 
of success itself. There was, for both of us, some one 
to whom it was to have been a kind of offering. My 
father tried to bring it to my mother — and I to you." 

"David !" she interposed sadly. "Did you think that it 
was only outward success I cared for?" 



THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 321 

He passed his hand wearily over his forehead. 

"I don't think I thought much about it at all, Di. I 
Have only just realized that it was for you that I have 
worked and fought as I have done. You see, I have 
been brought to look at things from that point of view — 
success has been the only standard I have ever been 
judged by — and — instinctively I have always striven to 
clear myself from .your contempt. I didn't know that It 
was love for you* that made the recollection of that night 
in Kolruna so bitter. But I know now and I, too, am 
not ashamed. I do not think the love that I bear you 
could ever be shameful. But I wish" — ^he caught his 
breath almost imperceptibly — ^''I wish you didn't care, 
Diana." 

"Why?" she asked. 

"It makes it worse to think that you are unKappy." 

She smiled at him, though the deadly pain half 
blinded her. 

"I am not unhappy. I never meant to marry, because 
I did not believe I should ever meet a man worthy of 
me, and now I never shall marry, because, having met 
him, I can't have him. But I'm glad I've met you and 
glad I love you, David. It lifts me a little above myself, 
you know." 

Will you write once when you get to Kolruna?" 
'No, dear, better not. But remember — ^we shall be 
working together all the same — ^we shall be keeping our 
compact." 

"To make her happy?" 

"Yes — and our success shall be the sign that we are 
forgiven — ^the justification of our love." 






322 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Yes, I understand." 

"Good-by, David." 

"No— don't shake hands — ^it's such an empty form — 
and it would hurt — " 

Without a backward glance she left him. He waited 
until the clang of the outer door told him that she was 
gone, then he stumbled back to his place by the table 
and lay there motionless with bis face buried in his arms. 



CHAPTER III 

BETRAYED 

IT was very quiet in the great room. The figure kneel- 
ing by the cradle might have been a statue so rigidly 
did it retain its bowed attitude, and the baby on the 
white laced pillow had not moved since it had cried 
out an hour before. Now it lay very still — its eyes half 
opened, its tiny dark hands tight-clenched as though in 
pain. But after that one faint cry it had made no sound. 
The French clock on the mantelpiece chimed the half- 
hour and presently the hour. The yellow gloom of the 
fog deepened to an early twilight and the lights from the 
street began to throw their dim reflections on the painted 
ceiling. 

And still Sarasvati did not move. The noise of the 
passing traflic sounded afar off, so absolute and death- 
like was the silence that enclosed her. Presently a loose 
board cracked as though beneath a quick stealthy 
tread and there was a rustle of curtains pushed softly 
aside. She lifted her head and listened. For the moment 
there was no farther movement. She took the two power- 
less hands and chafed them between her own mechan- 
ically, with a kind of unreasoning persistency that was 
more tragic than the wildest lament. Then, overtaken 
by exhaustion, her hands dropped limply on the quilt 

323 



324 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

and she lay still, with her forehead resting against tHe: 
bar of the cradle. 

"Sarasvati I" 

The whisper was so low that it seemed to lose itself 
almost before it reached her. She started slightly, but 
did not turn. 

"David!" She answered tonelessly. "David — ** 

The door clicked to. The footsteps drew nearer. She 
could not hear them, but to her they were unmistakable. 
They seemed to beat upon her brain like a vibration from 
some old memory. She had heard them before when they 
passed through her dreams as mysterious and noiseless ; 
she had heard them long ago, in half- forgotten ages ; they 
were inexplicably part of herself and her life. Then 
suddenly with a smothered scream she sprang to her feet 
and faced about. 

"Who are you — ^how have you come here?" she whis- 
pered. 

In the drear half-light she saw at first only that the 
man who stood within a few feet of her was not her 
husband. Without answering he came closer to her, so 
that his dark set face almost touched her own. 

"Hast thou forgotten thine own tongue?" he said 
softly in Hindustani. "Hast thou so utterly forgotten 
thine own people that only the dogs' language comes to 
thy lips?" 

"How hast thou come here?" she repeated in stony 
terror. 

He laughed almost inaudibly. 

"There are always ways and means for those who will. 
For jingling gold the strongest door will open, the most 



BETRAYED 325 

faithful servants become traitors. But enough of that. 
My time is short, and I have much to say to thee." 

"I will not listen. I am afraid — ^thou art my husband's 
enemy and mine — " 

She struggled to pass him, but swiftly and silently Ke 
caught her and forced her back, one hand pressed tightly 
upon her mouth. 

"Sarasvati!" he whispered, "thou wouldst do well to 
listen to me. I have not risked so much not to dare more. 
What I have to say to you concerns life and death — 
perhaps the world's history. And I have a right to 
speak, for there is a bond between us which no hand can 
sever. Wilt thou listen?" 

For a minute they stared into each other's faces. Her 
wild starting eyes hung on his with the helpless terror 
of an animal caught in the toils. Then she made a feeble 
movement and he released her, so that she stumbled back, 
gasping, against the cradle. 

"Thou hast asked me who I am," Ke began in the same 
low incessive accents. "My name, as it was given me 
by the English missionaries, is Rama Pal, and by birth 
I am a Brahman. My father. Nana Balagi, is a priest 
of Vishnu. Two children were born to him of one wife 
—one was stolen, so it is said, by the English mission- 
aries, in reality by the lowest Pariahs. Afterward he 
fell into English hands and from that hour he was more 
lost to his own people than if death had taken him. The 
other child — was a girl. They called her the daughter 
of Brahma." He bent a little forward, studying every 
line of- her drawn face with a keenness that was half- 
cruel, half -pitying. 



326 JHE iDAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"Much has changed, O my sister, since we wandered 
together beneath the temple pillars," he went on. "The 
priest's son, with the mark of Vishnu on his brows, be- 
came a beggar and an outcaste. His faith and his heri- 
tage were stolen from him ; suffering and poverty haunt 
him — ^all that remains is the hope that one day he may 
plunge his hands deep in the blood of those who have 
wronged him and his brethren. 

"And thou, Sarasvati, my sister, thou, too, hast changed. 
Have I not seen thee kneeling amidst the lotus flowers, 
thyself more lovely than their tenderest blossoms ? Have 
I not seen thee held high above the heads of an adoring 
multitude, bedecked in all the gems of India, thyself 
more precious, more desired than the purest emerald? 
Have I not seen the eyes of millions turned to thee for 
the signal which would set them free? But thou, too, 
wast granted dishonorable life and the curse of them that 
forsake their faith and kind is on thee. For what hast 
thou become?" 

He caught her roughly by the wrist and dragged her 
to the looking-glass, where the reflections of their faces 
stared back at them in gray ghostliness. 

"Look at those cheeks, once round and smooth as 
a peach in its first ripeness ; look at those eyes that were 
once brighter than the stars ; look at the hair, once dark 
and lustrous as the night sky, more luxuriant than the 
foliage of the jungle. Where is now thy beauty, O my 
sister? Thou hast become old and withered, thy loveli- 
ness has passed like the loveliness of a flower that has 
been plucked and flung into the dust by the wayside. 
Thy heart is broken, Sarasvati, my sister. No wonder 



BETRAYED 327 

that the love for which thou gavest all lias grown cold 
and passes on to other and fresher — *^ 

"It is a lie!" she broke in wildly. She tried to free 
herself. The horrid distorted reflection of her own face 
mocked her helpless efforts. 

"A lie ? Art thou then blind to what others see hourly ? 
Art thou deceived by a friendship which is no more 
than a mantle for a disloyal love? Thy very servants 
pity thee. But what is that against the greater wrong? 
Thou art doubly betrayed, Sarasvati, my sister. The 
ring upon thy finger is a lie, the ceremony which bound 
thee to thy betrayer was an empty form. Thy marriage 
was unlawful — ^thou art an outcaste in the country of 
thy birth and in the country of thy adoption — thy son is 
bom in dishonor — " 

"Be silent!" She wrenched herself free and sprang 
like a tigress to the cradle, where she turned and faced 
him in royal fury. "My son has passed beyond dis- 
honor," she said. "My son is d3dng." 

He stared at her, and then in the heavy silence he 
crept across the room and peered down at the gfray suf- 
fering face upon the tiny pillow. ^ 

"Dying!" he repeated. "It is well. He is spared 
much." 

"Rama Pal — ^my brother — ^if brother thou art— it is not 
true — it is not true — " 

She held out her hands in piteous supplication, and he 
caught them and drew her to him. Fiercely pitying, he 
half carried, half supported her to the fireside. 

"It is true. I swear it." He knelt down and thrust 
his clenched fist full into the flames. "By water and by 



328 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

fire, I swear that thou hast been doubly betrayed," he 
cried loudly. "If I have lied, may the fire testify against 
me." He withdrew his hand and showed it to her. It 
was uninjured. His face blazed with a fanatical triumph, 
which hid from him, as well as from her, the success of 
a common Hindu juggler's trick. 

"It is the truth, my sister. What I know, I know 
from those who would not lie and who know the law — " 

She interrupted him. For a space, she had found firm 
ground in the midst of the shifting sands; in this final 
disaster one thing remained steadfast. 

"Shall I not know light from darkness, gold from base 
metal?" she said clearly. "I will not believe that my 
husband has betrayed me — ^no, not till his own lips have 
answered thy accusation." 

Rama Pal considered for a moment in keen watchful 
silence. 

"It is possible — ^probable, that he whom thou callest 
husband is also ignorant of what I have told thee," he 
said at last. "What difference does that make? He 
loves thee no more. Thy little hour in his life is over. 
His own blood — ^his own race call him. Wilt thou plead 
with him and reknit the bonds which have grown odious 
to him ? Wilt thou chain him, unwilling, to thy side and 
watch how a white man's passion crmnbles to hatred and 
contempt? Or wilt thou see him seize the offered outlet 
to escape — to leave thee, scorned and mocked, at the 
mercy of his world ? Sarasvati — " 

He sprang up and held her as she reeled against him. 
Her head dropped powerlessly against his shoulder, and 



BETRAYED 329 

he bent his lips to her ear, speaking with a swift change 
of tone. 

"All is not lost, Sarasvati; not despair but hope do 
I bring thee. Thy part in this cold unlovely land is 
played. Those to whom thou hast turned in trust have 
shrunk from thee, have heaped contempt upon dishonor 
— to-morrow, perhaps, will spurn thee from their doors. 
But thy land, thy people, call thee, Sarasvati. Millions, 
who in secret and silence have armed for the great day 
of deliverance, do but wait for the signal from Heaven 
that their hope is blessed. The gods are silent — ^but thou, 
divine daughter — " 

"Divine?" She drew herself up, her hands raised 
above her head in a movement of inarticulate despair. 
"Thou knowest that I am human. In all the world there 
is no divinity — " 

"Thou art divine!" he broke in with a fierce elation. 
"Thou art a goddess, a living symbol of an Idea — an 
Ideal. We who have lost our faith in graven images 
will worship thee and obey thee as the personification of 
what is most divine in us. Throw aside forever this 
base earthliness, Sarasvati, my sister. Become that which 
thou wast born and made to be — ^the inspiration, the sal- 
vation of thy country." 

She stared at him, through the increasing darkness, 
half hypnotized. 

How — to what end ?" she whispered. 
To the end that India shall be free and the blotch of 
shameful slavery washed away in the blood of her op- 
pressors — '^ 



"] 



330 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"I can not I" she wailed. "I can not I Is not my hus- 
band of their race — " 

"Not thy husband — ^thy betrayer. Or hast thou still 
love for the man who has dragged thee down into shame 
and sorrow?" 

She faced his furious scorn with a piteous humility. 

*T can not otherwise — ^am I not but a woman?" 

Somewhere in the quiet house a door was banged 
sharply to. Rama Pal started and listened. His im- 
passivity had returned and his oriental eloquence 
changed to a sharp businesslike precision: 

"To-night thy husband attends a theatrical perform- 
ance in aid of Indian charity," he said in a low voice. 
"Thou wilt accompany him. I shall be close at hand. 
With thy handkerchief thou wilt give me a signal. To- 
morrow at daybreak I shall await thee with a carriage 
at the corner of the street. By eyening we shall be on 
our way to Calcutta." He raised his hand in solemn 
warning. "Should the signal not be given I swear to you 
that I shall shoot Sir David down like a dog this very 
night— or if he escapes me I will not rest till my debt 
is paid. I swear it — ^thou knowest that I swear not 
vainly." He turned and crept noiselessly to the door. 
"Nor think to betray me," he added. "Sir David is 
already marked, and when I fail a dozen will take my 
place. To-night — or to-morrow. The end will be the 



same." 



He was gone. She took a stumbling step toward the 
door as though to follow him, then swayed and subsided 
slowly on her knees beside the cradle. The minutes 
passed and she did not move. The twilight deepened to 



BETRAYED 33i 

night and only the reflections on the ceiling and the red 
glow of the fire broke through the gathering gloom. Un- 
consciously her hand began to feel over the silken quilt 
that covered the child's quiet form, instinctively she 
sought for the one living comfort that was left her and 
instead touched something that was cold— cold and 
harder than stone. 

Yet another minute passed. Realization, like a pale 
light breaking through a mist, came to her slowly. 
Then she started up, her hands searching in feverish 
silence through the darkness, and suddenly she moaned 
and stood still, arrested by the frightful annihilat- 
ing thing that she had touched. She did not cry out 
after that. Her conception of life, half-childish, half- 
mystic as it was, left her crushed and helpless before 
these grim realities of death and dishonor. All reason- 
ing, almost all feeling sank engulfed in a chaos of 
hideous formless suffering. Not for her were the con- 
solations of religion nor the stoic behests of intellect. 

Religion, as much as drifted back to her in that moment, 
was to her a vague shifting substance to which it was 
vain to hold out hat^ds of supplication and death itself, 
that last refuge, opened out before her eyes an endless 
vista of future lives filled with the same agony in lower 
meaner forms. Even now her child's soul, tainted with 
the dishonor of its birth, had passed on into some foul 
body, to begin the frightful cycle of its transmigrations. 
For it and for her Nirvana, that state of contemplative 
measureless peace, was lost, and out of her numb despair 
there arose a fierce somber resentment against the forces 
that had dragged her from her divine state. A smoldering 



332 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

hatred burned up among the ashes of her grief — z hatred 
that scarcely knew itself nor its object, but called out to 
the unknown powers a passionate vindication of its own 
existence. Wronged, betrayed beyond all measure, she 
beat wildly against her invisible taunters, seeking ven- 
geance, above all, escape. 

She rose, shivering in every limb, and crept nearer 
to the fire. Escape? Was there none? In the days 
when evil dreams had risen before her had not she 
had the power to lift herself above them into endless 
spaces of peace and silence ? Her bewildered brain sought 
after the sacred formulas, her lips formed them — ^but no 
change came to her. The dreams, shaped as dead chil- 
dren, as men and women who mocked and threatened 
her, as cold dank mists and yellow darkness, closed her 
in, and suddenly, like some tortured frenzied animal, she 
screamed aloud. 

"Sarasvati !" 

The door had opened. A flood of light fell upon her, 
and as though awaking from some awful trance, she 
turned a little and saw David Hurst standing in the door- 
way. He was in evening dress and his square broad- 
shouldered figure stood up massively against the bright 
background. 

"Sarasvati !" he repeated. *T thought I heard you call. 
Are you there ?" 

"I am here." 

He switched on the red shaded lights over the mantel- 
piece and she saw his face. 

"I came to say good-by," he said. "The carriage is 



BETRAYED 333 

waiting. 'I wish I hadn't to go, but IVe promised. Good 
night, my wife." 

"You are going — " She passed her feeble hand over 
her forehead. "Yes — I remember — ^to-night — " He 
watched her in silence, vaguely alarmed. And suddenl)^^ 
she came toward him on tiptoe as in the days of her 
lost beauty, her fingers to her lips, a curious painful 
laughter in her eyes. Lithe, graceful, almost feline, she 
crept up to him and laid her hands upon his shoulders. 
"Take me with you," she whispered. "Take me with 
you. I am so tired of the darkness — I want the light — 
and music — ^and people — " He looked down at her. 
She had spoken rapidly, mechanically, and fever burned 
in her hollow cheeks. 

"The child — " he began. "Is it safe for you to leave 
him, dear?" 

She laughed — a low toneless little laugh. 

"Oh, he is so much better. He sleeps. I have sat and 
watched over him, and he has not cried nor stirred. Now 
the nurse can care for him. Let me come?" 

He bent and kissed her tenderly with a grave solici- 
tude. 

"As you wish it, you shall come," he said. "Hence- 
forth you must be always with me, Sarasvati. I want 
you. The shadows have come between us a little of late. 
We will put them out of our lives and go back into our 
own world." 

"Yes, back into our own world," she repeated mo- 
notonously. "But to-night — for the last time — ^we will go 
together." 



334 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Still he hesitated, oppressed by he knew not what. 
There was something in the quiet room that was like 
a breath of cold dank air, causing him a keen physical 
discomfort. He looked about him and his eyes encoun- 
tered the white painted cradle. 

"Let us say good night to our son," he said. 

But she clung to him with the same wild laughter in 
her eyes. 

"Oh, no, you must not look at him, or touch him. He 
is asleep. You must not wake him. It is well that he 
sleeps. The doctor said so— did he not? And he sleeps 
so softly. Come — ^go gently." 

Hurst allowed himself to be drawn unresisting to the 
door. He dared not protest. There was something fren- 
zied in her bearing that warned him. 

"We shall send the nurse to him," he said. 

She nodded and looked back over her shoulder. 

"Oh, yes — we shall send the nurse to him. How well 
he sleeps. He has not heard us. Good night — come, my 
husband— come quickly — come quickly — " 

She closed the door and, ghostlike, glided noiselessly 
before him down the corridor. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE CHOICE 

THE Belvedere had opened its doors to charitable 
enterprise. The famine- and plague-stricken in far- 
oS India had aroused the elegant English world to a 
sense of their solemn responsibility as citizens of the 
empire, and beside the usual Mansion House Fund it 
had been decided to organize an immense entertainment, 
the proceeds of which should be devoted to the suiferers. 
Altruism had become rife. The management of the Bel- 
vedere had presented their building free of all charge 
for the evening, various music-hall turns had offered 
their services, and society had pledged its support. Con- 
sequently the event promised to be a brillant one, and 
no doubt, had they known of the sacrifices being brought 
in their behalf, the distant recipients would have felt 
their lot more tolerable. 

Cabinet ministers, so-called Indian authorities, M. P.'s, 
with their wives, a sprinkling of the nobility and a 
mighty gathering of that resplendent and proud clan 
whose resplendency is based on bottled pickles and 
meat extracts and other such useful commodities and 
whose pride is legitimatized by "connections" among 
the latter-day peerage — such were the chief ingredients 
of the crowd that swarmed about the Belvedere's hand- 

335 



336 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

somely decorated couloirs. The women were gor- 
geously dressed — probably no other feminine assembly in 
the world could have boasted of having spent so much 
money on its attire — and their partners had groomed 
themselves with such blind obedience to the prevailing 
masculine fashion that their appearance was disconcert- 
ingly uniform. 

In the whole theater there was probably only one 
man who had dared to defy the latest sartorial edict. 
He blocked up the narrow gangway which led to the 
lower boxes, and the cut of his evening clothes, to- 
gether with his whole massively uncompromising ap- 
pearance, caused one or two immaculate representa- 
tives of the jeunesse doree to regard him with a not 
wholly unjustified suspicion. In dress, in bearing, and 
above all in expression, he discorded with his surround- 
ings. Among the delicately built men whose thin clean- 
shaven faces portrayed a weary amusement he stood out 
like an ungainly Titan, his arms folded, his bearded 
chin lifted in an attitude of unconscious aggression. 

More than one woman glanced at him, but less with 
suspicion than with a certain unreasoned interest. For 
women instinctively recognize strength, and in that at- 
mosphere of eifete pleasure-seeking the outsider exhaled 
an energy that was actually uncomfortable. None of 
the attendants, however much inclined to do so, cared to 
question his right to be present, and it was left to an 
elderly, distinguished-looking man to touch him on the 
shoulder. 

"Excuse me— will you let me pass ? This is my box." 

The stranger started round. 



THE CHOICE 337 

"Yours ? Ha— I was told that Sir David Hurst—" 

"Sir David is sharing the box with my party," was the 
suave explanation. "Might I ask if you are one of his 
guests?" 

"Guests? Good heavens — ^nol" The stranger's man- 
ner expressed impatience. "I only arrived from India a 
couple of hours ago. But I am his friend and I haf a 
wish to see him." 

The owner of the box considered the intruder with an 
awakened interest. The obvious retort that this was 
neither the time nor place for the proposed meeting did 
not occur to him in the face of the man's earnestness, 
and after a moment he began in a more cordial tone : 

"In that case I shall be delighted if you would take 
my place meanwhile. Sir David should be here in a 
minute. My name is Langley, and I am in some measure 
Sir David's friend — " 

"Langley — ^his party leader?" The stranger glanced 
keenly into the astute face beside him. "Ha, yes, he 
wrote to me about you. He even advised me to address 
myself to you. My name is Heilig, Professor Heilig, 
late of the Leipziger University." 

"The Hindu expert? I am delighted to meet you." 
Langley held out his hand. "My young supporter has 
often spoken of you as the inspirer of his able pamphlets 
on the Indian question. I congratulate you on your 
scholar. He will make his way — in his own way." 

Both men laughed, but a flush of satisfaction had dark- 
ened the German's forehead. 

"Yes, I discovered him," he admitted proudly. "I 
knew what was in him. Does he do well indeed ?" 



338 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"He gives every promise of going far," was the cordial 
answer. "He is already what is commonly called an 
'Indian Light'. I have reason to believe he will bring 
about a great reformation in our methods of handling the 
educated Hindu masses." 

"And his wife?" Heilig interrupted almost roughly. 

The politician passed his hand over his chin. The 
question appeared to trouble him. 

"There we are on more difficult ground, my dear sir. 
You know Lady Hurst?" 

"I was present at her marriage." 

"And if I judge correctly, you are desirous of ascer- 
taining how she has influenced her husband's career?" 
was the shrewd interrogation. 

"You judge correctly," Heilig admitted, though witH 
a slight contraction of the brows. 

"If you wish me to be frank, I must confess that Lady 
Hurst's influence has been unfavorable. Du reste, the 
fact is an open secret. You know, perhaps, how much 
we unhappy politicians owe to the social standing of our 
feminine supporters, and Lady Hurst is, frankly, impos- 
sible in her present position." 

"Why?" Heilig blazed out so suddenly and violently 
that a few bystanders turned to look at him. 

Langley shrugged his shoulders. 

"My dear Professor, as a student of racial differences 
you must be able to answer your own question," he said. 

Heilig made no answer to this. The band had struck 
up some patriotic air, and Langley opened the door. "If 
you would take a seat we should be out of the crush, and 
I should be delighted to hear a little of your news," he 






THE CHOICE 339 

said courteously. "You come from the scene of action." 

Heilig jerked his head over his shoulder. 

"The scene of preparation," he retorted. 

"Do you mean — " 

"I mean that foUowmg an historical example, you 
fiddle your cheap tunes and the earth is being mined 
under your feet." 

Langley smiled. 

That is Hurst's old theme," he said philosophically. 
I allow myself to believe, however, that old England is 
safe enough for the present I beg your pardon? Did 
you speak?" 

For Heilig, whose keen eyes had continued to search 
the crowd, had started slightly and his powerful hands 
had clenched themselves with a movement of suppressed 
excitement. He turned, however, smilingly to his com- 
panion. 

"I? No, I have not spoken. But I saw an old 
acquaintance whom I did not think to meet here. You 
say old England is safe enough ? Oh, yes, you are quite 
right — ^very safe !" He gave a short sardonic laugh. 
''You would be surprised if this whole grand erection 
blew up under your feet, would you not — ^but I would not 
be surprised at all. Ach — du lieber Gott!" 

The exclamation had evidently burst from him in spite 
of himself, and Langley turned with a slight gesture of 
impatience. Hurst's friend was without question a some- 
what troublesome and turbulent guest, and Langley was 
relieved to see Hurst himself wending his way toward 
them. But Heilig's face had grown colorless. 

"Is that what you haf made of her?" he said, and his 



340 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

voice was like an angry growl. "No — I thank you — I 
will not meet him yet. I haf had a shock — I go. Tell 
Hurst that I will come again — " And before the puzzled 
politician could intervene the professor had made his 
escape, elbowing his way to the back of the crowd with 
more energy than his obstacles appreciated. From his 
point of vantage on the steps leading up to the second tier 
he saw Hurst and his wife approach the box that he 
had just vacated. Lady Hurst clung to her husband's 
arm. Had it not been for her dress and complexion 
Heilig would not have recognized her. This — Sarasvati, 
this haggard, withered Hindu woman — ^the daughter of 
Brahma, the lovely child of the lotus flowers and warm 
sunshine and blue skies ? He cursed loud and his neigh- 
bors, who had stopped for a moment in their listless chat- 
ter to stare at the new exotic arrival, turned and stared 
at him with the same expression of cold half-insolent 
surprise. But Heilig had forgotten his surroundings. 
His eyes burned with pity, and resentment made his 
rugged face almost savage. For an instant before the 
door of the box closed upon her Sarasvati turned, and 
Heilig fancied that her hunted terrified glance had en- 
countered him. The possibility gave him a grim consola- 
tion. 

In reality Sarasvati had seen nothing. In vain she 
had striven to focus her mind on particular objects. 
Her eyes were blurred, she was dimly conscious of 
massed brilliant coloring broken by marring patches of 
black; a smudged impression of white faces — ^all turned 
to her with that one familiar expression of cold animos- 
ity — ^imprinted itself on her numbed brain. Even when 



THE CHOICE 341 

she sat huddled in her seat in the front of the box the 
same impression remained. This pageant of a cultured 
nation's wealth and refinement translated itself to her 
into a raw ruthless brutality directed against her exist- 
ence. This world of delirious dreams conceived in the 
brain of a humanity that had lost touch with its God 
stood like a black wall between her and the light. She 
had felt its restless stirring in the past — she had fled from 
it into the heights of silence, but it had followed her, 
it had dragged her down into its fever-swamps, it had 
shut her in and now was stifling her in its self-conceived 
shadows of false ideals, false humanity, false faith. She 
crept back among the curtains of her box but her eyes 
continued to wander sightlessly over the packed rows of 
men and women. 

David Hurst was seated close beside her. His arm 
rested on the back of her chair, and he was speaking 
in an undertone to the other occupants of the box. A 
tall elegant woman, the wife of Hurst's leader, sat op- 
posite him and nodded an occasional assent while her 
passionless English eyes passed from Sarasvati to the 
brilliantly lighted stage and on to the crowded stalls im- 
mediately beneath. Sarasvati felt the significance of the 
glance though she had not heard the whispered comment 
to a friend in a neighboring box. 

"Yes— that's Lady Hurst Terrible, isn't it? A youth- 
ful folly, of course — such a pity. Not even beautiful — a, 
very nice man — clever, too — ^would make his way — " 

A blast of music put an end to the soliloquy. A woman, 
in pink tights with a Union Jack in either hand and a 
crown of ostrich feathers nodding from the summit of 



342 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

'false curls, fiad strutted on to the stage and in a loud 
strident voice broke into a thinly tuned topical song. 
Sarasvati shrank back into the shadow. A frightful 
physical sickness crept over her. She felt filthy hands 
seize her and drag her down into the mud — the dreams 
had become degrading horrible nightmares. 

*'Good old England is the top dog yetl" 

shouted the singer, and at the end of each verse a round 
of self-satisfied applause greeted her as she swaggered 
round the stage, the flags fluttering triumphantly over 
each fat shoulder. And suddenly the sickness passed and 
like the turning point in some violent disease — a hatred, 
primitive in its ferocity, burned up in Sarasvati's tortured 
breast. For this painted vulgar harridan she had been 
slighted and despised by the men and women who now 
roared and clapped their applause; for this blatant van- 
ity, called patriotism, her country groaned in the dust 
of subjection. For this she had sacrificed her beauty, her 
faith, the peace of her temple — for this, that she might 
belong to this crowd, to this great people who cheered the 
degradation of their own greatness. The excuses and 
explanation that might have satisfied another mind 
failed her. The veneer of European culture crumbled. 
She was the Oriental now — seeing with the Oriental's 
eye, suffering with the Oriental's intense sensitiveness, 
burning with the Oriental's inherited stealthy passions 
of hatred and revenge. 

She leaned forward and for the first time the pur- 
pose for which she had come rose out of the chaos 



THE CHOICE 343 

of her sensations. She saw Rama Pal's face lifted 
to hers. He was seated in the third row of the stalls 
and an empty space scarcely two yards wide separated 
them. She could see the white of his eyes, the hand 
hidden significantly in the pocket of his coat. His face 
was quiet, expressionless, and yet as their eyes met she 
read his message. Here in this vast concourse she was no 
longer alone. In this dark-faced man was the active 
embodiment of her own emotions. A sign from her and 
the sullen rising tide of racial hatred would find its outlet 
in one swift annihilating act. She was past all thought. 
The sting of a hundred petty injuries and the aching 
wound of her dishonor and betrayal crushed out every- 
thing but that one thirst for a deadly retaliation. She 
turned her head a little, instinctively seeking a last 
glimpse of the man who, in the next few minutes, would 
pay the last great penalty. 

David Hurst was leaning forward, his eyes fixed on 
the stage. The black brows were contracted and the 
line about the mouth was bitter, proudly contemptUr 
ous. And with an illuminating fiash she understood. 
He, too, suffered. Whatever evil he had done her, he 
was not one of these laughing, jeering, triumphant de- 
mons who were hounding her to her destruction. He 
turned and met her glance and the disgust and pain 
which lay half-hidden behind his softened expression of 
tenderness aroused in her the memory of all that had 
been with a terrible laming pity. 

"In a few hours all this will be over," he whispered. 
"To-morrow we shall leave all this behind us — ^we shall 
be free — ^thank God !" 



344 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

To-morrow? In a few minutes! Two vast primitive 
passions of love and hatred, equal in strength, equal in 
justification, mastered her. Revenge — ^yes, but not against 
him — not against him, for she loved him, but against the 
pitiless grinding machine which had made him, too, its 
instrument. A primeval woman now, unmodified by 
civilization, she turned to him with one great all-com- 
prehending, all-forgiving tenderness. As in the golden 
sunlit temple-shrine, so here also he was the man who 
had led her to the highest pinnacle of life's grand 
mountain range of passions, and thus he remained for 
her, indissolubly, a very part of her own being. 

Love demanded of her that she should save him from 
the quiet waiting death beneath and hatred clamored for 
its satisfaction. She bent forward with her hand over 
the edge of the box, and something white fluttered down 
through the darkness. 

"You have dropped something, Sarasvati," Hurst whis- 
pered. 

She nodded. Rama Pal's hand had slipped from his 
pocket, and he was staring impassively at the stage where 
the patriot in tights, at the salute, proclaimed the tri- 
umphant refrain for the last tim< 



*'Good old England '' 

"Yes," Sarasvati answered in a whisper. "A hand- 
kerchief." 

"We can send an attendant afterward to fetch it," 
Hurst said. Some one touched him on the shoulder, and 
he rose and quickly left the box. Outside, in the empty 
couloir. Professor Heilig faced him. 



THE CHOICE 345 

"I did not know you were in England," Hurst began, 
but his proffered hand was impatiently ignored. 

"I only arrived a few hours ago. At your club they 
told me I should most probably find you here, and I 
wanted to arrange a meeting with you at once. I was 
waiting for you to come out of that rabbit-hutch when an 
excited female arrived with this letter for you, and I 
promised to see that you got it without delay. You had 
better look at it before you go into ecstasies over me — 
good news rarely comes so out of breath." 

Hurst took the letter and opened it. His dark face 
stiffened as he read and without a word he turned and 
went back into the box. 

"Sarasvati — *' he said in an undertone. "We must go 
home at once. The child — " 

"Is dead," she interrupted. "I know." 

She arose. Her cowering weakness had gone. Erect, 
the slender figure in the gold-embroidered sevi, drawn to 
its full height, her dark head lifted in an attitude of 
haughty aloofness, she gazed steadfastly into the great 
dimly-lighted theater. The singer had just appeared be- 
fore the curtain to receive the plaudits of her audience, 
and a fat hand wafted a kiss in the direction of the 
crowded box. A smile of infinite contempt hovered 
around the Hindu woman's curved lips, then with a last 
glance that swept the whole theater she turned and fol- 
lowed her husband into the lighted corridor. 



CHAPTER V 

IN PURSUIT 

THAT night David Hurst did not sleep. A futile at- 
tempt to lose himself in that merciful oblivion had 
driven him back to his library where a feeble firelight 
alone broke the darkness. He had drawn up his chair and 
against the sullen red background memory marshaled the 
gray pageant of his life. Distinct, yet linked together by 
an invisible chain of cause and effect, the pictures repre- 
sented to him a tragedy — ^not of circumstance but of 
character. He saw himself ms a child, now lying on the 
long grasses weaving his dreams into the dying Indian 
sunset, now grasping at visible success with weak des- 
perate hands. He saw himself as a boy, now beating his 
tortured brains against the profession which tradition 
had ordained, now hungering after the world of imagi- 
nation which he had lost. He saw himself as a man, his 
challenge uttered, stepping out on the lonely path of his 
own will. Whither had it led him ? He had lived accord- 
ing to his own character and the disaster that followed 
was as inevitable as it was compile. The inevitableness 
crushed him. "A house divided against itself." The 
words recurred to him with a painful persistence and 
he knew that they described him and prophesied the end. 
His challenge to the world had been useless, for his 
greater enemy lay behind the locked door of his own soul 

346 



IN PURSUIT 347 

where two forces opposed each other in silent daily con- 
flict. To his distraught fancy two figures represented them, 
the vague shadow of the father he had never known, but 
whose confession was engraved on his memory, and on 
the other side his mother, a clear definite personification 
of a boundless ambition and inexhaustible energy. And 
of these two he was the outcome, the inheritor. Strength 
coupled with weakness, the dreamer with the man of 
action — what wonder that such a union had failed ? For 
David Hurst looked failure in the face. He had lost the 
one woman who might have bridged the cleft in his own 
nature and with her the place for which he had striven 
doggedly, tenaciously. The dreams remained — faded 
unreal flowers of fancy whose fragrance had been de- 
stroyed in the heat of battle. He leaned forward with his 
face buried in his hands striving to animate them with 
something of their first beautiful life, but a pale ghost, 
clasping the body of a dead child in its feeble arms, arose 
before his mental vision as though in piteous mockery. 
Outside the rain beat with hard fingers against the win- 
dow-panes, a lump of coal crashed down into the grate, 
startling him from his painful introspection. He looked 
up and saw that he was no longer alone. Half lost 
against the background of shadows Sarasvati stood and 
watched him. She was fully dressed, her black hair lay 
smooth on the small shapely head which was thrown 
back slightly so that her heavily-lashed eyes seemed 
closed, and her hands lay crossed on her breast. So 
noiseless had been her entrance, so strange, almost 
sinister was her attitude that for a moment Hurst sat 
motionless, watching her with the petrified fascination of 



348 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

a man who sees his dreams take shape before him. 
And in that brief space of time he recalled her as he had 
first seen her — asleep amidst her lotus flowers with the 
golden figure of the god towering above her in hideous 
majesty; and as she came toward him, gliding with 
scarce perceptible steps he saw her again in that won- 
drous moment of awakening when she had come to him 
with the one complete surrender of herself. 

"Sarasvati — 1" he exclaimed under his breath. Swept 
back on the tide of memory, he realized the ruin that 
had been wrought. He sprang to his feet, his arms out- 
stretched in an impulsive passionate pity, but something 
in her wan face checked him. "Sarasvati — ?" he re- 
peated with a note of interrogation. 

She laid her hands on his shoulders and for a moment 
they looked each other steadily in the eyes. The golden 
sunshine which had once lit up the pure glory of her 
beauty was changed to the dull reflection of the firelight ; 
the beauty had gone and the earth-forgetting love become 
a tragic tearless recognition of a mutual sorrow. 

"My Lord and God 1" she said solemnly. 

He knew then that she, too, had remembered. He held 
her to him, instinctively seeking to shield her from some 
invisible danger, but she released herself with a quiet de- 
cision. 

"I have come to say good night to you and to my son," 
she said. 

'Now?" he questioned, painfully moved. 
1 can not sleep until I have said good night," she an- 
swered tonelessly. Without protest he lighted a candle 
and led the way out of the room and across the corridor. 



til 



IN PURSUIT J49 

At the closed door that shut in their dead child he turned 
as though to support her but she drew back with a slight 
restraining gesture. 

"I will go alone." She took the candle from his hand, 
and he opened the door for her to pass through. 

By the dim flickering light he saw the cradle amidst the 
walls of white heavy smelling flowers ; he saw Sarasvati 
take her stand at the foot and gaze down on the pitiful 
thing that had been her child. Then, moved by a sudden 
sense of his own unfitness, he closed the door and stood 
alone in the profound darkness of the passage. Five min- 
utes passed. The door opened again and she passed out. 
He saw no change in her quiet face, save that its expres- 
sion of solemn purpose seemed to have deepened and in 
silence he accompanied her to the foot of the stairs. 
There she turned and once more her thin hands rested on 
his shoulder. 

"Good night !" she said softly and in her own tongue. 
"May thy God and my God watch over thee and keep 
thee, my beloved." 

He bent his head and he felt her lips touch him. The 
impulsive desire to shield, to enclose her in the shelter 
of love had given place to an awestruck recognition of 
a great change. Not the daughter of Brahma, the 
woman-child of mysticism and dreams, noi^ yet the 
broken cowed product of his world's system stood be- 
fore him, but a being whom he had never known, an 
aloof and inscrutable spirit. And suddenly the great evil 
he had done her took shape before him and a pent-up 
longing for absolution broke from his compressed lips. 

"Forgive me !" he said hoarsely. 



3SO lTHE daughter OE BRAHMA 

And again she kissed him. 

"I have forgiven/' 

She passed on up the stairs, rising in her trailing gar- 
ments like some ghost into the deeper shadows, and he 
watched her until a bend in the staircase hid her from 
him. Then he felt his way back to his place before the 
dying fire and there, as though released from some evil 
spell, he slept dreamle&sly until daybreak. He was 
aroused then by the entrance of the nurse. Instantly fully 
awake, he saw by her expression that her unusual appear- 
ance in his room was caused by some fresh trouble. She 
was white to the lips and for the first moment incapable 
of speech. Possessed by a swift prescience of misfortune 
he sprang to his feet. 

"What has happened?'* he demanded roughly^ 

His tone recalled her to some measure of calm. 

**I beg your pardon, Sir David — " she stammered — ^"I 
wouldn't have ventured but we thought you might know 
— ^Lady Hurst is missing — " 

"What do you mean?" 

"I mean. Sir David, that this morning we found her 
bed empty — ^it had not even been slept in — and she is 
nowhere in the house. We have looked ever3rwhere — and 
we are afraid — ^her ladyship has been in great trouble — ^" 

Hurst pushed the frightened woman to one side and 
hurried out of the room. He knew now that whatever 
disaster had befallen her it had not come upon him with- 
out warning. It had hung heavy in the atmosphere — he 
had seen it written on Sarasvati's face, he had felt its 
dark force gathering about him slowly, invidiously, yet 



IN PURSUIT 351 

with all tHe inevitableness of fate. Down-stairs fie was 
met by Heilig. Early as it was, the professor's appear- 
ance caused him no surprise. He was vaguely aware 
that the warning had first become manifest with Heilig's 
sudden reentry into his life the day before and that now 
he belonged essentially to the crisis. For a moment the 
two men stared at each other with a reasonless antagon- 
ism. Then Heilig made a curt gesture of apology. 

"I regret to haf come upon you like this," he said, "but 
I had to see you at once. If I had had my way I would 
haf told you last night — " 

I can not listen — not now," Hurst interrupted sternly. 
My son is dead.' 



"My son is (^'^'^^ " 
"I know." 



That's not all, Sarasvati, my wife — ' 

"I know that, too.' 

Hurst, with his hand on the telephone, swung round. 
You know ? How do you know ?" he demanded. 
I guessed at the possibility yesterday when I saw 
her face. I knew for certain when I heard the child had 
died. Rama Pal was in the theater last night." 

"Well? For God's sajje, Heilig, tell me what you know 
— what you suspect. Every minute is precious." 

"My young friend, do you think I haf traveled a few 
thousand miles to warn you and do not know how 
precious time is? But I haf come too late and now we 
must act — ^swiftly, it is true, but not recklessly. Leave 
that telephone. It can not help us." 

Hurst led the way into his wife's sitting-room and 
here faced about with a hard-won calm. 






352 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"At least tell me where Sarasvati is." he said. "That 
is all that matters just now." 

"By this time I believe your wife to be on her way to 
India." 

"Good God! Alone?" 

"No— with her brother— Rama Pal." 

Hurst recoiled. Then, recovering himself, he walked 
across the room to the writing-desk. The drawers stood 
open. All that his wife possessed in letters — a few writ- 
ten by his own hand in days of unavoidable absence — 
had gone. Four bank notes lay on the table, spread out 
with pathetic neatness, and on top of one Hurst saw 
the minute gold circle of his wife's wedding-ring. He 
picked it up and slipped it on to his own finger. His face 
had grown old-looking. 

"I did not know Rama Pal was her brother," he said 
dully. 

"Nor did Rama Pal know probably until a short time 
ago. His father and hers, Nana Balagi, kept the secret 
until it suited him to use it. You will remember — Nana 
Balagi murdered your father, David. Your father knew 
too much and you know too much. There is a double 
feud between you, my young friend." 

"What do I care ? If Rama Pal has decoyed — '* 

"There is no question of decoying," was the quick 
interruption. "Sarasvati went, I believe, of her own free 
will. You do not believe me?" The professor came 
across the room and faced the younger man in an out- 
break of passion. "You saw her daily and you do not 
know what you — ^you and your narrow-hearted, blind, 
bigoted people haf done? But I knew though I saw her 



IN PURSUIT 353 

face only for an instant, and when I saw Rama Pal I knew 
that his opportunity had come. Her heart was broken, 
David Hurst, and you — ^you haf broken it !" 

For an instant Hurst's brows contracted, then he saw 
something in the blazing eyes that caused him to turn 
away, disarmed, silenced by a grief as bitter as his own. 
Heilig shrugged his shoulders. 

"Why, yes — I loved her," he said simply and with 
a sudden gentleness. "Why not? In a sense she was 
my child. I found her — I grew to love her as the 
most divine thing in my life. I would haf given my 
life for her if it would haf helped. I am an old man — 
but old men haf their dreams — I trusted my most lovely 
one to you — and you haf destroyed her. Perhaps I was 
wrong to blame you — ^what we call civilization is too 
strong for most of us — and now is no time for reproach. 
I haf told you that Sarasvati's heart was broken. That 
was a weapon in your enemy's hand, David. But there 
was something else — something worse." He hesitated 
and then added slowly and distinctly, "Sarasvati was not 
your wife, and she knew it.' 

"Heilig, are you mad?' 

"Intolerably sane, David. Your marriage was invalid." 

"Father Romney married us," Hurst exclaimed proud- 
ly. "In the eyes of God— " 

The professor stamped in a sudden fit of rage. 

"Cant, cant, David. Do you think people care what 
God thinks of marriages ? If they did many an unhappy 
woman whom they have cast out in disgrace would call 
herself wife. No, no, the world is against you. At the 
present moment Kolruna is discussing legalities in gen- 



99 

I 

V9 



354 I THE DAUGHTER OE BRAHMA 

eral — ^your marriage in particular. A visiting Roman 
Catholic bishop started it. He had heard rumors of the 
affair and made investigations. As a result Father Rc»n- 
ney has been suspended." 

"In pity's name — why?" 

"Because he performed a ceremony that in the eyes of 
his church was illegal. You were both doubtful con- 
verts. You had no proper witnesses. I did not count — ^I 
am a heathen. It's no use cursing at facts, David. When 
you go to a firm you haf to let them manage your busi- 
ness in their own way. We were all a little mad that 
night, David — a little outside ourselves, as the sa)dng 
goes. Your enthusiasm swept us off our feet. And 
afterward — ^well, it never occurred to us to think about 
it, it would haf been sacrilegious to haf doubted anything 
so sacred." 

He stopped a moment. Hurst was staring sightlessly 
out on to the rain-swept street Sarasvati's last words 
recurred to him with a double tragic significance. "I 
have forgiven," she had said and had gone from him be- 
lieving in her own dishonor and in his. He turned 
quietly to his companion. 

"Well?" he said. 

Heilig repeated his impatient shrug. 

"When we realized what had been done I came post- 
haste to England. I hoped to reach you before the scan- 
dal so that you could put things straight I was too slow. 
Rama Pal must have heard and used his knowledge for 
his own purposes." 

"What is his purpose ?" in the same level tone. 



IN PURSUIT 355 

Heilig came across the room and caught the younger 
man by the arm. 

"Do you not remember the first evening we met, 
David? We saw him then — ^the pious Hindu convert — ^at 
the head of his band, and I told you that he was a devil 
and one day would set his torch to the powder. That day 
has come. The mine of religious fanaticism is prepared 
and by the word of Sarasvati, the daughter of Brahma, 
it shall be lighted. Before another month all India will 
be ablaze. I know, I haf seen. I haf been down in the 
secret vaults beneath the temple. I haf seen arms piled 
upon arms. I haf warned the government, but I know 
not if they haf listened to me. If, indeed, the daughter 
of Brahma should return to the temple — Kohruna at least 
will be lost—" 

Hurst threw up his head. He had thought of Diana — 
on her way already — of his mother. The primitive forces 
of his nature were awake. Despair was forgotten in a 
thirst for action. 

"Every port in England and in India must be in- 
formed," he said between his teeth. "We shall stop them 
— ^it is impossible that they should get through." 

"You underestimate like all your race." Heilig re- 
torted. "Rama Pal is well served and he will not take 
the ordinary route. No doubt you are right — ^no stone 
must be left unturned — ^but — " 

Hurst crossed the room and rang the bell. 

"I shall start overland for India to-night," he said. "I 
may be able to catch the boat at Marseilles. Whatever 
happens I must be with them. If I could see her— only 



356 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

for a moment — " He stopped, deep in thought. Heilig 
shook his head. 

"Much good you will do! Trotzkopf!" he muttered. 
"She is lost to you." 

"Lost to me? She is my wife — ^yes, in my eyes, my 
wife, Heilig, and I loved her and in spite of all she loved 
me to the end. I shall win her back. India, those dear 
to me, my own honor, are at stake." 

For the first time Heilig's grim face softened with the 
old friendship. 

"I am glad, David. I was afraid — I am ashamed now 
of my own fears. I will come with you. We will do 
what we can — ^but I know too much to hope much." 

"You know !" Hurst exclaimed half impatiently. "You 
surmise ; you can prove nothing." 

Heilig's brows knitted themselves. 

"Perhaps not. But I haf a fancy — ^to you a strange 
fancy — a superstition call it. May I see your son?" 

With a brief nod Hurst led the way out of the room. 
His mind, working in a fever of impatience, had carried 
him already far into a future of swift decided action and 
his eyes, blinded to the present troubled visions of what 
was to come, saw at first no change in the quiet pitiful 
little figure lying amidst the flowers. Heilig went down 
and with a tender hand pushed aside the stray blossoms 
from the baby's forehead. Then a low exclamation broke 
from him. 

"A surmise !" he said. "More than that, David ! Look 
— ^the mark of Vishnu! I was right. The daughter of 
Brahma has gone back to her temple — Sarasvati is lost 
to you and to us forever." 



CHAPTER VI 

IN WHICH HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT ITSELF 

IN Kolruna there was a great silence. The cheery 
drums and pipes of the regimental band were still, no 
light woman's laughter came down with the slow moving 
air and Death, traveling under the grim name of cholera, 
alone danced at nightfall in the shadows of the empty 
gardens. 

It was near four o'clock on the third day of the out- 
break. A blinding sickening heat, laden with pestilence, 
still hung like a cloud over the station and the sound of 
footsteps on the deserted street brought one or two hol- 
low terror-stricken faces to the doors of the native 
hovels. 

"The Lord Sahib has drunk of the vine," an old shriv- 
eled Sudra woman whispered to her son. "Let not his 
defiled shadow fall upon thee, else shall the curse come 
to hs." And they shrank back farther into the filth and 
darkness of their home. 

The judge went on his way. He reeled, lurching 
from side to side, and keeping to the center of the 
road more apparently by instinct than with any clear 
intention. He was not a pretty object. He had not 
grown thinner but his flesh hung loosely about his 
heavy frame and his face was purple and blotched-look- 

357 



358 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

ing. Even his clothes, once so immaculate, had gone 
the way of ruin. They were tattered and dirty and the 
high boots, whose luster had been the pride of his leisure 
years, were caked with a week's dust. Yet in spite of it 
all he swaggered a little as he saw the dark faces of his 
watchers; he pulled himself upright and readjusted his 
helmet and retained a certain wavering dignity until he 
reached the Chichester bungalow. There, having nego- 
tiated the half a dozen steps which led to the balcony, 
he collapsed on the wicker lounge. Attracted by his 
hoarse breathing Diana Chichester came out of the draw- 
ing-room. The strain of anxiety and physical hardship 
had already begun to leave its impress on her features, 
but compared to the man before her she looked splendidly 
well and vigorous. The judge nodded at her. 

"Nice afternoon, Di," he said with sarcastic cheerful- 
ness. "I've just trotted over to ask if you'd extend your 
hospitality to Mrs. Hurst. She's knocked out and her 
servants have left her in the lurch. As she has stuck 
to the station through thick and thin I thought you'd do 
the neighborly." 

Diana passed her hand over her fair hair. 

"Of course," she said. "How is she coming?" 

"My old nag is making a last journey with her," the 
judge returned. "Being more like a clothes-horse than a 
genuine quadruped, I thought it kind not to overburden 
her. After this last service she will receive the reward of 
a gentle quietus." He patted his hip pocket significant- 
ly. "What's the latest, Di ?" he then asked. "How are 
things going?" 

"Badly," she answered. "There are a hundred men 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 359 

down and the whole regiment ought to be in quarantine, 
but of course we can do nothing. It's certain that we're 
in for trouble again. No train arrived from Asra this 
morning and father believes the lines have been pulled 
up. He has just sent Hatherway down to telegraph." 

"Humph." The judge looked up at her with a faint 
twinkle in his eye. "It's a good thing most of the pretty 
ladies have gone up to the hills, isn't it? Don't you 
wish you'd stopped in merry England, Di?" 

"No, I'm thankful for action. Besides what would my 
mother have done ?" 

"That's true. Who's helping her ?" 

"Every one, Father Romney and Mr. Eliot chiefly. 
They work together like brothers. Father Romney knows 
almost as much about cholera as Doctor Helstone himself, 
and Mr. Eliot is getting quite thin in his apprenticeship." 
A faint smile crept into her steady gray eyes. "It's funny 
what a little diflFerence creed makes when it comes to a 
common danger." 

The judge pushed back his helmet and mopped himself. 

"Not so funny after all, Di. Grattez le Russe et vous 
irouverez le Tartare, as our French friends say, and I 
venture to paraphrase, Grattez la religion et vous trou- 
verez Vhomme. I hope I am talking sense but in this heat 
one can hardly be sure even of one's brains. Ah 1 I hear 
my old nag's footsteps." He rose with almost youthful 
alacrity and had reached the bottom of the veranda steps 
before the shabby buggy and the emaciated horse had 
come to a standstill. He held out an unsteady hand t9 
Mrs. Hurst, who, taking it, descended slowly and with 
difficulty from her seat. Diana, who had not seen her 



36o THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

since her return, was horrified by the change that the 
last few months had wrought in the once beautiful 
woman. The beauty had gone and the one feature that 
had linked her with the past was the unconquerable reso- 
lution that burned out of the somber eyes. She accepted 
Diana's welcome with a grave courtesy. 

"It is good of you to have me," she said. "My servants 
have left me and but for your hospitality I should be in 
danger of starvation." 

She followed Diana into the drawing-room, motioning 
the judge to remain behind, and for a moment the two 
women studied each other in silence. There was a long- 
standing feud between them, but face to face with this 
indomitable pride Diana forgot her own bitterness in a 
generous admiration. She drew forward a comfortable 
chair. 

"You must sit down and rest, Mrs. Hurst," she said 
gently. "I'm afraid we haven't much to offer, but you 
must look upon this as home as long as — ^as this trouble 
lasts. Mother will be around shortly, but just now she 
is in the hospital." 

Mrs. Hurst sank down with an irrepressible sigh of 
relief. 

"I thank you," she said. She was silent for a little 
while, drumming with her fingers on the table next her, 
her eyes fixed ahead, then she glanced up sharply. "I 
understand that you saw a good deal of David when you 
were in England," she said. 

"Yes, I stayed with them until their son was born." 

"Then — " she hesitated, openly struggling with herself. 
"Then— you will know if it's true that David— my son 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 361 

is doing as well as is reported. He is very silent about 
himself." 

"David has already made his name," Diana answered 
coldly. She offered no further information. Whatever 
revengefulness she had in her character took pleasure in 
seeing this woman beg for that which she would have 
once despised. 

Mrs. Hurst seemed to understand her companion's 
silence, for she smiled faintly. 

"No doubt you have heard rumors concerning his mar- 
riage ?" she went on. "Do you believe what some people 
say ; namely, that he knew ?" 

"Whoever believes David capable of a vile dishonorable 
action is a fool," Diana returned hotly, and then realized 
that she had been outmaneuvered. 

Mrs. Hurst leaned back. The smile on the colorless 
face had deepened with a genuine touch of humor. 

"I am glad you say so," she said. "I did not want to 
believe my son dishonorable, and you know him better 
than I do." She held out her hand. "I have been very 
angry with you, Diana, unreasonably angry because you 
were too good for David and reasonably angry because 
you sided with him in what I considered his disgrace. 
I have grown to see that I have misjudged you both. I 
shall not be able to tell David so — it is not likely, as you 
must be aware — ^that many of us will come out of this 
alive — ^but I should be glad if — if — " 

"If I would accept your forgiveness ?" Diana suggested. 

The two women looked each other in the eyes. Mrs. 
Hurst's suffering mouth twitched. 

"I think that is about what I mean," she said with im- 



f «. 



362 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

perturbable gravity. "And now if you have no objection, 
I should be glad of something to drink. Judge !" 

The massive figure hunched on the veranda chair im- 
mediately rose and lumbered heavily into the room. 

"I want a glass of water, Judge," she commanded. 
"Fresh water, not that brackish stuff that has been mak- 
ing a wreck of me. And don't try to make me drink any- 
thing else. I am tired to death of champagne and lime 
juices and other civilized compounds. In illness one re- 
turns to a primitive state and requires primitive nourish- 
ment." She spoke with a faint querulousness that was 
new to her and betrayed more than her white face how 
profoundly her strength was undermined. 

The judge rubbed his hands. 

"Water?" he said. "Why, that's modest enough. 
Where is the supply, Diana?" 

Diana followed him to the door. Her face had grown 
very grave. 

"I think you must go around to father's office," she 
said in an undertone. "There is some trouble about the 
water. Father will tell you. Do what you can — I think 
it is more than a wish — she is very ill." 

The judge glanced over his shoulder at the hialf re- 
cumbent figure. 

"Yes, I'll do what I can," he said. "Look after her, 
Di." 

He found Colonel Chichester in his shirt-sleeves, en- 
gaged in marking out a map. The little soldier looked 
up, started as he saw his visitor's face, and then resumed 
his occupation. 

"You've come at a nice time, Judge," he grunted. 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 363 



«T», 



I've just heard that the telegraph wires are cut. Can't 
get a word through to Asra or anywhere else; 'pon my 
word, after twenty years of these little incidents, one gets 
rather fed up with them. Now, what the devil is to be 
done?" 

"I don't know," the judge retorted cheerfully. "I'm 
not a fighting man. Tell me where you keep your family 
water-butt, Chichester, there's a good fellow. I want 
a glass." 

The colonel showed his teeth in something like a snarl. 

"You want a glass, do you? Well, you can have a 
glass and all the damned whiskey in the house, but you 
don't get any water, my son. I've measured the stuff 
and, doling it out at a pint per head, we've enough for 
the next three days. Run along and think that over." 

The judge rubbed his chin. 

"I am thinking it over. What about the river? Has 
it dried up in the night?" 

"Possibly, I can't say and it doesn't matter much. 
We're cut off, my optimistic water-seeker. There are a 
few hundred armed devils squatting on their heels be- 
tween us and the river, and I haven't more than a hundred 
men whom I could spare to make the attempt to get 
through. The bazaar is restless and if the bazaar breaks 
out we shall have hot work. So there is nothing for it 
but to sit tight and hope that the powers that be have 
listened to old Heilig's warnings. If you want any more 
information you'll find Hatherway in the compound some- 
where peeling potatoes." 

"Thanks." The judge rocked thoughtfully on his 
heels. "I suppose there are no advances made in your 



«1 



364 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

water comer, are there? I mean — ^if I oflFered a spoon- 
ful as interest could I have my to-morrow's portion now ?" 

"No, you couldn't. There's many a poor devil shriek- 
ing for water out there in the hospital, and a law isn't 
made to be broken." 

'Not even for a lady?** 

What lady?" 

'Mrs. Hurst is here. She is asking for water." 

Colonel Chichester began to sharpen his pencil. 

"Tell her it's a matter of life and death," he said 
quietly. "She comes of a fighting stock. She won't 
ask for water again." 

"H'm, that's true." 

The judge considered a moment. Then he made his 
way around to the servants' quarters. They were de- 
serted. Under the shade of a peepul-tree he found Hath- 
erway, also in shirt-sleeves, and Mrs. Chichester in an 
enormous apron. Both looked up, Mrs. Chichester with 
her vaguely cheerful smile. 

"All our servants have gone," she said. "They say we 
have the evil eye or something and so we have to look 
after ourselves. It's quite amusing. I've never peeled 
a potato before." 

"And you're not peeling one now," Hatherway put in 
with a gay laugh. "You are merely committing a brutal 
assault. Anything I can do for you, Judge?" 

"Thanks — eh — ^yes. I'm on the lookout for an empty 
bottle — or in fact an3rthing water-tight. Can you give 
me an idea where such a commodity is to be found ?" 

"Try in the shed over there." 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 365 

"Thanks/' 

The judge came back after five minutes. An empty 
champagne bottle stuck out of each side pocket, and he 
was smiling a little as though at some grim joke of his 
own. 

"Coming to help?" Mrs. Chichester asked interrupting 
the valse which she had been crooning softly to herself. 

'*Sorry, Mrs. Chichester. I am going for a little stroll. 
When I come back I shall endeavor to make myself use- 
ful. By the way, my son of Mars, if I shouldn't happen 
to turn up again in the next few hours you might put a 
spare bullet through my old nag's head, would you? 
She's on her last legs, poor soul, and I shouldn't like 
her end to be more uncomfortable than necessary." 

Hatherway glanced up from his potato peeling. His 
sunburned, somewhat haggard face had lost its gaiety. 
The two men looked each other steadily in the eyes. 

*T won't forget," Hatherway said and then added in a 
lower tone: "It is possible that I may be going for a 
stroll myself some day soon. We may meet." 

"Better luck ! Good-by, Mrs. Chichester." 

The last thing he heard was Mrs. Chichester's voice 
humming a refrain from the latest operetta. He looked 
back and, seeing that Hatherway was watching him, he 
waved his hand and then set off briskly down the high- 
road. 

The great heat of the day was broken and he walked 
more easily with something of his old buoyancy. The 
native bazaar was deserted, and he skirted around by the 
station, running into a little party of returning railway 
officials. They saluted him with the cheerful confidence 



366 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

which his inexhaustible good nature had won from every 
class of Englishmen. 

"Heard the latest?" one man called. "Lines torn up 
for a mile, wires cut, water supply cut, cholera rampant 
and a rumpus of the old-fashioned type ahead." 

"All — in the day's work," said the judge, and passed 
on. They looked after him, and the spokesman shook 
his head. 

"Has a nasty color," he said. "Heart, I suppose. I 
wonder what the devil has kept him in this hole so 
long?" 

The judge went on his way undfterred by the fact that 
he had passed the outskirts of Kolruna. He was now quite 
alone in the enemy's land and beyond the protection of his 
own people. Like a speck against the brightness of the 
evening sky he saw the solitary sentinel who watched the 
highroad leading to Asra. But the man had not noticed 
him, and he took the opportunity offered by the un- 
dulating land to drop quickly out of sight. A quarter 
of a mile farther on he reached the narrow irrigation 
canal which in better days helped to supply Kolruna witK 
water from the river. It was now empty. 

The judge peered cautiously around. It was now close 
on nightfall. The hills stood out black against the pale 
emerald sky, rising like a shadow above the fringe of for- 
est that separated Kolruna from the river, and a sound 
of wailing chanting voices drifted down on the faini 
breeze. The judge calculated, then slid down to the bed 
of the canal. Here it was night. Looking up he could see 
the stars breaking through the quivering veil of heat. He 
turned riverward. The thick clammy mud rose above 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 367 

his ankles, and after the first dozen yards he had to ease 
his hoarse broken breathing. After that he went on with 
a tenacious steadiness. The voices had grown louder, 
throwing a mysterious charm over the evening, and one 
or two words came distinctly to the listener's ears. 

"Saras vati, daughter of Heaven I" 

To a man less intent on his purpose there would have 
been something terrifying in the repressed passion of the 
appeal but the judge had ceased to notice even the labored 
beating of his own heart. The walls of the canal dipped 
slightly and against th^ light he had seen the upright fig- 
ure of a native. The man was armed and he stood with his 
face lifted to the hills as though waiting some signal. The 
judge measured his distance — ^then sprang forward. He 
was big and heavily built, and the attack was unexpected. 
Beyond one half-uttered groan and the dull thud of a 
falling body there was no sound, and the judge did not 
loosen his grip of the slender brown throat until a con- 
vulsive movement followed by a relaxation of the strain- 
ing muscles told him that he had no more to fear. After 
that he crawled on his hands and knees. His progress 
was slow, and once, overcome by faintness, he fell forward 
with his face in the mud. The sheer horror of the thing 
revived him and with an irrepressible grunt of disgust 
he pushed on. 

Five minutes' persistent effort brought Him within 
bearing of the water and the last few yards were done 
at a record speed. Groaning, half conscious, but still 
upheld by his purpose, the judge stumbled against the 
rough dam that cut off the canal from the river and 
with a heave lifted himself on the other side. There he 



368 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

collapsed. The water at the edge was only a few inches 
deep and the cool moisture flowing against his wrists 
brought him to his senses. Mechanically, beating back 
weakness by pure strength of will, he filled his bottles, 
corked them and placed them in his pockets. Then he tried 
to rise. But there is a limit even to the human will and the 
judge dropped back with a groan of agony. 

"Done— ^one at the winning post, too, by God I" he 
muttered, and lay still. 

Presently he lifted his face to the sky. The stars were 
out in their full brilliancy, and he watched, half fas- 
cinated, with a sardonic little smile about his open mouth. 

"A — condemned man gets a last wish granted," he 
whispered thickly. "Lord God — ^get me back with these 
infernal bottles — ^give me a last sight of her — for — ** 

His head rolled over on one shoulder. For what might 
have been an eternity blackness encompassed him, thin- 
ning at last into a mist through which he heard the lap- 
ping of the water against the mud banks. He listened 
to it with the intentness of a man striving to concentrate 
his wandering thoughts and then suddenly with a jerk 
he pulled himself up. Something had broken the mo- 
notony of sound — a steady swish growing rapidly nearer, 
a low quick breathing. Guided by the instinct of self- 
preservation the judge crouched down against the dam, 
and a moment after two shadows rose out of the water 
and came wading toward the bank. The judge watched 
them, petrified less by fear than by a wild reasonless ex- 
pectation of some coming wonder. A low English oath 
fell on his sharpened ears and he bent forward. 



HISTORY THREATENS TO REPEAT 369 

"Who's there ?" he whispered, 

"Hurst— who there ?" 

"Hamilton — ^Judge Hamilton — ^merciful God — David!" 

He tried to rise, but lost his footing and stumbled into 
Hurst's arms. For a moment no one spoke. Heilig was 
leaning, panting, against the dam, his eyes turned to the 
hills, his hands instinctively endeavoring to press the 
water out of his sodden clothes. 

"David — what the devil are you doing here?" the 
judge muttered. "You fool — you perfect young fool — to' 
come into this mare's nest." 

"Never mind about that. You'll know later why I've 
come. Our train was stopped at Asra — ^the place is sur- 
rounded — and the professor and I ran the gauntlet per 
boat. We had to swim the last mile for safety's sake. 
Are we too late — what are you doing here ?" 

The judge understood the fear that underlay the ques- 
tion. He gave a low broken chuckle. 

"They're all right — ^all — right," he whispered. "I'm 
not a survivor, David. I'm t'other thing. You cut 
along the canal, my son. You'll find a nigger half-way, 
but he won't bother you. I squeezed the life out of him 
half an hour ago. And look here — give these — ^these 
confounded bottles to Mrs. Hurst, will you? Tell her 
— no — ^no don't tell her anything — ^just cut — I'm done — 
David — ^my son — " 

"Don't be a fool, Judge ! You don't think we're going 
to leave you? Put your arm over my shoulder. We'll 
get along somehow, and if we don't — " He stopped. 
The chanting had broken off and a loud piercing cry 



370 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

rang through the stilhiess. The three men looked at 
one another. 

"Sarasvati — Sarasvati — daughter of Brahma!" 

Victorious, palpitating with a frenzied joy, the call 
was taken up and repeated till it lost itself like an echo 
in the far distance, Heilig pointed to the hills. A red 
star had burnt close to the summits. 

"We haf no moment to lose," he said in a rough whis- 
per. "The fires in the temple are alight — Sarasvati has 
returned. In another hour it will be too late. Come !" 

The judge made no further resistance. He did not 
understand — ^a kind of blur had settled on his mind — ^but 
he had become endowed with an unnatural strength. He 
allowed himself to be half dragged, half lifted over the 
dam, and in silence the three men started on the road 
back to Kolruna. 



CHAPTER VII 

HARVEST 

"TT7ALTER— Walter !" Mrs. Hurst started and 

V V looked about the dark quiet room, then sank back 
among her pillows. "I thought I heard some one calling," 
she said wearily. "Did you not hear it, Diana?" 

"You were speaking in your sleep," Diana answered. 
"You must have heard your own voice." 

"Probably. I have been dreaming a good deal of my 
husband. The circumstances recall his memory. He was 
killed on just such a night. In India the accidents of 
life and death repeat themselves like the turning of a 
wheel. But the morning after my husband's death David 
was born, and I shall not see David again." 

Diana turned from the veranda where she had been 
watching the shadows deepen over the valley. She 
thought she had heard a note of regret in the quiet voice, 
but the years had hardened, not softened, the proud 
heart. Mrs. Hurst's face was composed and gravely sat- 
isfied. 

"I am glad I did not pander to David's sentimentality," 
she went on as though divining Diana's thought. "I 
have made him a man and now I am proud of him. Tell 
him so." 

"I shall not see him again." 

371 






372 JHE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

Mrs. Hurst turned her white face to her companion. 

"You are so sure that this is our last night? Well, 
you are right to be prepared. Still, there is always 
hope—" 

"In any case I shall not see David again." 

The keen eyes narrowed. 

"I understand. I am sorry. It was my great wish. 
But characters that develop too late are usually unfor- 
tunate. Ah, did you hear that cry?" 

Diana nodded. Involuntarily her hands clenched them- 
selves and she turned to the window, obeying the in- 
stinct which compels us to face danger. 

'What is it ?" she asked quietly. 

*A signal, no doubt. Give me my revolver out of the 
drawer there. I am against giving these people the sat- 
isfaction of killing a European. You see — it is double 
loaded. I will leave the second bullet for you if you like." 

"Thank you." 

Some minutes passed in silence. Then the curtains 
were pushed quietly to one side and Mr. Eliot entered. 
He looked questioningly at Diana, and answering to her 
nod, he drew near the extemporary couch. The last few 
days had changed him more than all the years of his life. 
Self-satisfied, self-sufiicient and dogmatic as he had been, 
he was but a shadow of his former self. His proud 
pompous bearing and insufferable righteousness had 
been broken and his small red-rimmed eyes were those 
of a man who has seen the most terrible of all things — 
the vision of his own soul. 

"Colonel Chichester sent me to you," he said in an 



HARVEST 373 

undertone. "The bazaar has broken out, and no one 
knows whether they will attack us direct or join the rebels 
outside. In the latter case — Colonel Chichester means to 
let them through, but you must be ready to move over 
to the barracks at any time. The other civilians are there 
already. You are not safe here." 

Mrs. Hurst assented with a slightly impatient move- 
ment. 

"If we are not safe here we arc not safe anywhere," 
she said. "How are the patients ?" 

"Ten more cases." He hesitated, then added slowly, 
"Father Romney is stricken." 

' Diana uttered an exclamation of genuine grief, and the 
missionary nodded. 

"We have little hope," he said. "He has used all his 
strength in the service of others. He dies as a martyr. 
He has given me his crucifix. He asks me to give you 
all his blessing." He spoke in quick disjointed sentences 
as though he were out of breath, and the heavy red hands 
trembled. Mrs. Hurst bowed her head. 

"I thank you," she said. "If I believed in nothing else 
I should believe in the blessing of a brave man. Is there 
any news ?" 

'Judge Hamilton is missing." 

'Ah !" The exclamation expressed neither surprise nor 
distress. Mrs. Hurst pulled herself up higher and the 
still beautiful white hand caressed the butt of her re- 
volver. "I hear talking in the colonel's room," she said 
suddenly with a complete change of tone. "Who is it ?" 

"Some message from the outposts," Diana suggested. 






374 (THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

"I know the voice — " Then she stopped and the two 
women looked at each other. 

"Go and see !" Mrs. Hurst commanded. 

But Diana, obeying her own instinct rather than the 
imperious order, had not half crossed the room be- 
fore the curtains were pulled sharply to one side, admit- 
ting a man dressed in the rough garments of a Sudra, who 
stared at her through the part darkness. 

"Diana I" he said in an undertone. 

She made a tnechanical gesture toward the couch. 

"Mrs. Hurst — ^is there," she jerked out. 

"Thank you." 

He came forward and the light fell on his face. The 
black disordered hair and dark features harmonized so 
perfectly with his dress that the missionary, with a smoth- 
ered cry of alarm, sprang in front of Mrs. Hurst as 
though to shield her. Mrs. Hurst motioned him to one 
side. Her eyes were bright, she looked at the newcomer 
unsmilingly, but for that brief moment she had regained 
her youth. 

"Well, David?" he said. She held out her hand, and 
he caught it and held it for a moment and then kissed it. 
"We thought you were in England, improving English 
politics," she added lightly. 

"Heilig and I have just arrived from Asra," he an- 
swered. '^We had to swim the last part I just came in 
to see you before I went on." 

"Where?" 

"To the temple." He spoke as she had spoken — as 
though his appearance had been the most ordinary thing 



HARVEST 375 

in the world and his future movements of the slightest 
possible import. Mr. Eliot struck the first note of alarm. 

"It is impossible !" he blurted out. "We are surrounded 
and in any case the temple will be a death-trap.*' 
, Hurst pointed out into the darkness. 

"Do you hear what they are chanting over there?" he 
said. "*The daughter of Brahma is in her temple'. 
Sarasvati, my wife — " and here he laid a stem stress on 
the word — ^"was decoyed from me in London by a convert 
of yours, one Rama Pal. Our child had died, and he used 
the cruel scandal connected with our marriage to win her. 
We followed them to Calcutta, but there lost trace of 
them. Unless — ^unless a miracle happens she will be used 
as a kind of religious inspiration for a fresh outbreak. Not 
only Kolruna and Asra are in danger. If Kolruna falls 
all India will be alight. Thanks to Heilig, the author- 
ities are warned and the ringleaders have been arrested 
in London, but, once started, the trouble will be no less 
desperate and bloody." 

There was a brief silence. Mr. Eliot's flaccid face was 
livid — not wholly with fear. He was remembering an in- 
cident fourteen years before when he derided the temple 
and its goddess as myths and patronized the dark ugly 
boy as a fantastic liar. The man's self-erected edifice was 
crumbling fast. Mrs. Hurst bent a little forward and her 
eyes held her son's with their victorious confidence. 

"You will prevent it ?" she said quietly. 

"I shall do my best, mother." 

"Then you must not waste time. Good-by." She put 
her arms round his neck and kissed him for the first time 
since his childhood. "You are like your father, David," 



376 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

she went on. They were her last words to him, but they 
bridged the gulf of years. He stood and looked at her a 
moment, grim, resolute, yet with an expression in his eyes 
that she remembered, then turned and limped to the door. 
"Good-by, Diana," he said. Heir hand held the cur- 
tain as though to prevent him from passing, but he saw 
that it trembled. He smiled at her, the one-sided half- 

4 

wistful smile of the old days. "I think it's more than a 
mere form to-night," he said. 

She gave him her hand then and he held it silently. 

**Is it only to save us?" she asked scarcely above a 
whisper. 

"Why do you ask?" 

"Because then it would be a useless sacrifice of Kfe. 
You can do nothing." 

"I believe I can," 

"I shall not let you run the risk." She met his frown- 
ing eyes with quiet resolution. "I have that right. I at 
least have no ambition to satisfy." 

"Thefe is another reason," he said. He freed his hand 
and on the fourth finger she saw the dull gleam of a ring. 
"Sarasvati left that behind," he went on. "I am going 
to give it back to her. She sacrificed faith and happiness 
and people to follow me, and she belifeves I have betrayed 
her. You understand — ^at whatever cost — I must give it 
back?" 

"Yes— I understand." 

"If I fail I shall not return," he went on rapidly. "In 
that case trust yourself to Hatherway." 

tie had h6r hand again now, and her eyes answered 
him. 



HARVEST '877 

4 
"I, too, shall go my own way fo tHe end, David." 

"I know you are brave/* 

"I am trying to be worthy of your faith in me." 

He hesitated. 

"If only I were more sure of things — ^I would say *God 
keep youM" 

"Say it, David. One day we ghall be sure. And I 
know all that you mean." 

"God keep you then." 

He was gone. She groped across the room to the 
veranda and stood there staring out into the darkness. 
A red fire burned from the summit of the hills. It 
^eemed to her the warning signal of the Death that the 
lonely man had gone to meet and she, too, faced it 
steadily, her hands folded on the veranda rail, her face 
lifted to the sky. But no prayer passed her lips. Hers was 
too strong a nature to change faith in the hour of danger. 
Nevertheless, that night, guided by her own love, Diana 
Chichester, the sceptic, set out on the true quest of God. 

Behind her in the little room all was quiet. Mr. Eliot 
had gone back to his study and Mrs. Hurst sat huddled 
among her pillows, her gaze fixed ahead as though sh^ 
g^W something only visible to hersielf. There was a little 
arrogant smile about the thin, lightly compressed lips and 
th^ eyes under the black brows were keen and vigilant, 
denying all knowledge of the coming shadow. Presently, 
when the curtains moved again, she drew herself up with 
^ stem mustering of her strength. 

"Judge," she said, half questioningly, half angrily. 

He came lurching across the room, a bottle in one hand, 
a tray with a glass in the other. His clothes were 



378 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 
^ - >. 

saturated with mud that had resisted all attempts at 
removal, but his hands were scrupulously clean. 

"Sorry, Jean," he said. "Chichester — Mrs. Chichester 
— ^told me you wouldn't mind — old friend and unusual 
circumstances. Must celebrate dear old David's return, 
you know. Brought you the water you asked for — a bit 
late, Jean — ^always a bit late, eh? But it's good fresh 
water." He poured out a glassful, spilling some on the 
floor, and she watched him with frowning impatience. 

"Give it to the others," she said. "I don't want it." 

The hand with the glass wavered. 

"You— don't want it, Jean ?" 

"I mean — I don't need it so badly as the others. I 
have not long to live. It was only a whim of mine." 

"Ah! a whim." He leaned against the foot of the 
couch, watching her with a curious twisted smile on his 
blotched face. "I tell you what, Jean," he began thickly. 
"You don't need to think of the others. You're not 
taking it from them. It's my property — and a little 
present to you, so to speak. Drink a little — ^just to 
please me." 

Suddenly her expression changed. 

"You went down to the river?" she said under her 
breath. 

"What? River? Yes, nice stroll. Nice cool evening." 

"Don't lie to me, Geoffrey I Give me that glass 1" 

He obeyed, and she drank avidly. When she looked 
at him again he had dropped down on the edge of ihe 
bed. 

"It's good water," she said. "I feel better." 

"That's first-class." The light that dawned over his 



HARVEST 379 

face made him seem almost young. "First-class, Jean 
— ^af ter thirty-two years to have been of use — ^that's some- 
thing to be grateful for, eh ?" 

She caught his arm. 

"Geoffrey, what is it?" 

He had slipped slowly to his knees; his hand groped 
over the sheet. 

"Nothing— dear — ^nothing at all — une petite affaire dtk 
cceur, as our French friends say — it happens in the best 
families." 

"Geoflfrey !" She took his face between her hands and 
forced him to look at her. "Geoflfrey, you're not going 
to leave me — I wanted you to see me through, old 
friend." 

Again the same radiance — fainter this time. 

"My dear, I wish I could. Fd go with you. The 
spirit is willing — ^but the flesh — ^infernally — ^weak." 

He tried to smile. Then his head dropped heavily for- 
ward and there was silence. 

When Diana turned back from the veranda she saw 
that Jean Hurst slept. One hand rested on the shoulder 
of the man huddled on the floor beside her, the other 
gripped the butt of the revolver. Her brows were knitted, 
and the white noble head was thrown slightly back as 
though in defiance of an unseen enemy. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

- 1^ ARAS VATI f Sarasvati !" 

O The cry, following on a long silence, released the 
restless tossing hordes in the bazaar from a restraining 
spell. Narrow filthy streets belched out a lava stream of 
maddened humanity which swept across the valley, crush- 
ing aside every obstacle, trampling under foot those who 
for a moment stumbled in the headlong race. Unarmed, 
half-naked and strewn with ash and mire, the inspired yo- 
gis led their demon army toward the beacon that burned 
upon the temple hill. They danced ahead, weird fan- 
tastic figures in the ghastly luminousness of the Indian 
night, their matted hair streaming out over their 
shoulders, their thin arms raised aloft as though in con- 
stant malediction. Intermittently a scream went up into 
the night and a clanging gong beat out a monotonous 
rhythmic music to the procession's headlong progress. 
Midway across the valley, there where a narrow bridge 
traversed the river. Hurst awaited the onrush. From 
where he stood he could see the lights of Kolruna. He 
picked out the colonel's bungalow, and the room in which 
he had bidden Diana Chichester a last farewell. His fancy, 
strangely calm in that moment, pictured her again as 
she stood defiantly against the curtain — ^then a black 
flood swept over the vision of her face, and throwing up 

380 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 381 

his arms, he was swung around and caught like a straw 
in the vortex of a whirlpool. For one agonizing moment 
of suspense he felt his senses waver. The nauseating 
stench, the terrific impetus of the force which held him 
in its clutches, shook his strength and seemed to thrust 
him down into a bottomless abyss. Automatically he 
gripped his neighbor's shoulder. The man turned and 
struck out with a blind fury. Hurst felt the sting of the 
blow as it grazed his forehead and the pain was a strong 
intoxicating wine to his reeling senses. He regained 
his footing and his clenched fist fell like a sledge-hanmier 
on the distorted face. Without a sound the man went 
under and the tide swept on mercilessly in its course. 

After that Hurst's consciousness passed into a mere in- 
stinct of self-preservation. His very purpose, high fixed 
as it was, lost its clearness in that raging storm of 
fanaticism. Time and distance sank into the general 
chaos. He was dimly aware of old landmarks, familiar 
and linked with a hundred tender and terrible memories. 
Then the dense jungle growth of the secret path closed 
over all, shutting out the distant peace of the stars, 
charging the atmosphere with fetid suffocating heat. At 
intervals a torch, held aloft by some gaunt fleshless arm, 
threw a streak of unsteady light down the serried lines, 
and faces, frantic with hysterical ecstasy, started for a 
moment out of the darkness like illuminated glimpses 
of a delirious nightmare. 

Hurst fought like the rest. That madness which trans- 
forms a crowd of ordinary individuals to a single devil 
animated with a devil's spirit was in his blood and goaded 
him to a superhuman effort. Others fell in that struggle 



382 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

and their stifled screams mingled with the monotonous 
drowning chant of the yogis, but he pressed on, resolutely, 
savagely holding to his course, indiflferent alike to his own 
sufferings and the sufferings of those who fought beside 
him. 

"Sarasvati ! Sarasvati !" 

The cry came down the narrow cutting like a gust of 
wind and Hurst unconsciously repeated it. Here in this 
hell the name became a curse, conveying nothing to him 
but the idea of a diabolical force directed against his race 
and against civilization. The dreaming woman among 
her lotus flowers was the personification of a blood-thirsty 
heathenism — of a religion replete with hideous cruelty — 
and his purpose, all that had been, sank beneath the waves 
of a stern hatred. 

Then suddenly the darkness passed. A great invol- 
untary sigh burst from the stifled breasts, and looking up, 
Hurst saw the stars were once more above them. And 
in that instant the veil of passion was lifted from his 
soul. Beneath that great vault of heaven, in sight of 
that infinity which is beyond comprehension, the des- 
perate ruthless struggle of the last hour became a tragic 
symbol. Through a tangled jungle of falsehood, big- 
otry and folly, a poor humanity fought its way upward 
toward God, killing and hating, only to find at the stunmit 
of their Pisgah the unfathomable mystery of the stars* 
And many had fallen by the wayside, many had suffered 
— ^to no purpose. The ruins of a great temple rose up 
in stern reminder of time's passage and the finiteness of 
man's knowledge. The stones of the courtyard were 
worn away by worshipers who had passed with their 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 383 

faith into the shadows of forgotten things — ^and in the 
distance new faiths, new creeds, rolled on to the same 
end. 

A momentary hush had fallen on the tumultuous crowd. 
Like a boiling torrent that has been freed suddenly from 
its rocky boundary, the pilgrims had spread out over the 
brow of the hill, swerving together again as they passed 
through the mighty gopura, and in the solemn majesty 
.of the night even the chant of the yogis had died to 
silence. Hurst came on slowly. His strength, bom in 
the heat of battle, forsook him now and his heart beat 
faster with an emotion that was half-painful, half- 
joyous. It seemed to him that with that sudden change 
from the blackness of the jungle to this holy twilight 
a miracle had taken place in his own life. He was not 
the man who had wrested success from an unwilling 
fortune. He was not the man who had sacrificed a 
dream to an ambition. He was David Hurst, the out- 
cast, who came now to see, for the last time, the hidden 
treasure of his own soul. He passed beneath the arph 
of the gopura. Before him lay the slumbering silver sur- 
face of the sacred pool, and in the midst the red re- 
flection of the beacon that burned from the highest pillar 
gleamed out of the water. 

The multitude had poured down toward the sanctuary 
and Hurst followed without resistance, knowing that now 
fate alone had hold upon the threads of the future. The 
doors of the sanctuary stood open. Those who went in 
came not out again, and armed with Heilig's knowledge. 
Hurst felt no wonder. He allowed himself to be caught 
once more in the mighty stream that narrowed as it 



384 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

reached the low buildingy pouring through with irresist- 
ible force. Then Hurst saw with his own eyes. The stone 
floor had disappeared and massive stone steps led down 
into the somber depths. 

*'Sarasvati ! Sarasvati I" 

The shout seemed to come from the heart of the earth 
and those fighting with grim fanatic tenacity for a place 
upon the steps caught up the cry and plunged recklessly 
into the darkness. In the hideous melee of the descent 
Hurst kept his foothold. Half carried by the crush on 
either side, he passed helplessly over the mangled bodies 
of those who had fallen beneath the Juggernaut of human 
fury. Their last feeble groans seemed to him louder than 
the shouting of the multitude, for he was strangely calm 
now and the madness had gone out of his blood 

"Sarasvati I Sarasvati I" 

The bottom of the steps was reached at last For a 
moment Hurst and those in the foremost ranks were 
swept forward by the onrush from behind, then as though 
at some given signal, the swerving struggling mass 
dropped to their knees and a silence as of death hung in 
the sultry atmosphere. Half hidden by a pillar against 
which he had been thrown in the final struggle. Hurst 
alone remained standing. Dazed, sickened and half blinded 
by the blood that trickled from his forehead, he was at 
first only conscious of a moving tangible darkness ; then 
little by little as his vision cleared the Buried Temple 
arose from out of the mist of legend and became an im- 
mense reality, a stupendous realization of his childhood's 
wildest dreams. Tall slender pillars, carved with the his- 
tory of the nine avatars and lighted at their base by the 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 385 

light of innumerable torches, lifted their graceful capitals 
to the dome which, invisible yet imaginable, shrouded it- 
self in perpetual night. Shadows, deepening from violet 
to sable, hung in the side aisles and hid behind their veil 
the dimly outlined figures of the temple servants, ancj 
down the nave one long flood of delicate light poured 
from the altar. 

All this Hurst saw, though to his knowledge his eyes 
never left the glittering splendor that rose star-like 
against the firmamtot of darkness. Throne or altar — he 
could give it no name. He realized only the figure that 
sat between the jeweled arms, the dark head, crowned 
with one string of priceless rubies, resting half proudly, 
half wearily against the high back of the golden chair. 
Beneath, a white robed priest fed the altar fires with in- 
cense, and a man, crouching on the lowest step of the 
dais, hid his face as though in worship. 

"The daughter of Brahma is in her temple 1" 

The priest's chanting tones vibrated through the silence, 
and like an echo thrown back a thousandfold, the kneel- 
ing worshipers took up the triumphant announcement 
and repeated it until it rose in sonorous waves of passion 
into the vaulted heights of the temple. Then the tide, 
checked for a moment, rolled forward and its black waves 
beat against the altar steps. 

Hurst, shielding his face from the blinding light, looked 
up. He had fought his way to the foremost rank and not 
half a dozen feet separated him from that strange motion- 
less figure upon the altar. He saw the face — ^and a cry, 
lost in the tumult, broke from his lips. The divine flower- 
like loveliness had gone — ^gone, too, were the white robes 



386 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

that had once enclosed her in emblematic purity. The 
scarlet cloth, encrusted with rubies, which revealed the 
slender dignity of her frame, the heavy blood-red gems 
weighing down the hands clasped loosely about the carved 
arms of the throne, the unsheathed sword glittering at her 
feet — ^all seemed but a sinister reflection of the eyes that 
stared out over the heads of the kneeling crowd. Cruelty, 
devilish, insatiable, yet not without a certain awful 
majesty, lay in that somber inscrutable gaze. The lips 
of the once lovely mouth were parted, but no longer in 
the old, tender, breathless longing. 

To Hurst's tortured imagination it seemed that the 
spirit of a dying faith, grand, beautiful in its mystic 
aspiration, had passed away with the Sarasvati of his 
dreams and that with this withered terrible beauty rose 
the personification of a soulless devil worship— a religion 
that had lost its hold on God. Better that she should have 
died — better that the flames of her destiny should have 
carried her to the Nirvana of her prayers than that she 
should have become this — ^through him and through his 
race. 

Above him the priest's voice rang out like the full note 
of an organ. 

"Daughter of Heaven, behold thy people. Long have 
they waited for thee, O Sarasvati, and despair has eaten 
at their courage and bent their necks in shameful sub- 
aiission. With anguish have they seen thy altar deserted, 
thy faith rooted out from the heart of their children. 
Anarchy, faithlessness, discord have been sown by thy 
enemies, and no man has risen to hold their hand. But 
thou hast returned and the weak arm grows strong and 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 387 

the fearful heart bold. Speak, Sarasvati 1 Thou art from 
Heaven and thy curse shall destroy the strongest foe, thy 
blessing shall make the dullest blade sharp as a scythe." 

"My curse is on them/' 

Hurst lifted his head. Motionless, with that same 
hungry cruelty about the curved mouth, she stared out 
into the darkness. Pitiless as fate, her voice had sounded 
in the tense stillness. 

"See — ^the sword lies at thy feet. Shall it be with the 
sword ?" 

"It shall be with the sword." 

"In the blood of the oppressors shall the sins of thy 
people be washed out ?" 

"The blood of the oppressors." 



The tempest of fanatic passion, lulled for a moment 
by that still passionless voice^ broke out afresh. Hurst 
felt it rise up behind him like a demoniac force and his 
eyes, drawn irresistibly from the living idol, encountered 
the worshiper who still crouched at the foot of the altar. 
Hellish in its triumph, its revengeful ecstasy, tragic in its 
unconscious suflfering, Rama Pal's face was raised now 
to the light. He smiled, but in the sunken eyes there was 
that prescience of death which is never without its pathos, 
its terrible appeal. And between his brows was the mark 
of Vishnu. Hurst sprang to his feet. He tore the dis- 
guising turban from his head and leaped on to the first 
step of the altar. 

"Sarasvati! Sarasvati!" he called imperatively as one 
crying to a sleeper. "Sarasvati 1" 

As a still somber pool is broken into a hundred lights 



388 [THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

by the first ray of the rising sun, so the ruthless hatred 
in the once lovely face broke and passed, changing from 
the innocent wonder of an awakened child to an im- 
measurable tenderness. Slowly, as though lifted from a 
stupor by some power outside herself she rose, her arms 
outstretched in a movement of blind seeking, her eyes 
still turned to the shadows. 

"Sarasvatil" Hurst repeated. "Look at me — recog- 
nize me — for the sake of all that was and is between us, 
Sarasvati, my wife." 

He had spoken in English, consciously, purposely. A 
silence, appalling in its suddenness, had fallen on the 
paralyzed multitude behind him. Rama Pal had also risen, 
and Hurst felt his presence like an overshadowing des- 
tiny. He felt the full significance of the slow waiting 
smile which had dawned over the dark features, but he 
had lost the knowledge of fear. He had weighed the 
material against the ideal and the material had been found 
wanting. The mere facts of life and death had become 
insignificant. To regain her, to save her from the dam- 
nation of a hideous cruelty, to restore to her the treasures 
of her faith in him and in the divine origin of herself and 
of all life — that alone remained to him as a last and 
crowning ambition. 

"The Lord Sahib has given his life to no purpose," 
Rama Pal said gently. "The daughter of Brahma knows 
Jiim not." 

Hurst brushed aside the interruption with the decision 
of a man who knows the very seconds are numbered for 
him. 

"Sarasvati!" he cried in his own tongue. "If I have 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 389 

wronged thee I am ready to bear the punishment. But 
I have not dishonored thee. Thou art my wife — ^no man 
shall take that from me — ^all I am I am through thy love 
and mine. Sarasvati, believe 1 I have given my life that 
thou shouldst believe.'* 

Her eyes met his at last He felt the recognition pass 
through her like an energizing, fire. Then suddenly she 
smiled, no longer with the old child-like diffidence but 
with the majestic tenderness of a woman. 

"My beloved— I believe — ^my beloved — see, the shadows 
pass.'* 

In that moment Rama P^l caught up the unsheathed 
weapon lying at the foot of the altar« Hurst saw the 
movement and held out his arms in last appeal. 

" Saras vati, take back thy faith— thy divinity — ^but be^ 
lieve love is more worthy of thee than hate. Daughter of 
Brahma — ^we also are of God — ^shall divine life, strug- 
gling back to its source — be destroyed by thy hand — ^in 
thy name?** 

**There shall be no life destroyed in my name.** And 
her voice was full of gentle wonder. 

He knew then that the spell was broken and that the 
evil had gone out of her. He turned and with a steadfast- 
ness free from either hatred or despair awaited the end. 
He had witnessed the resurrection for which he had paid 
the price and he was content that the end should come. It 
was an instant of blurred impressions, unconsciously 
gathered as his last of earth — ^a sea of faces grown sud- 
denly still, a darkness through which death glided down 
on a silver streak of light. He wondered that it came so 
easily. He wondered, too, at the shadow that flitted be- 



390 IIHE DAUGHTER OF. BRAHMA 

tween him and that narrow descending flash tod at the 
scream, shrill with terror and agonized incredulity which 
broke the stillness. Then when the shadow passed he un- 
derstood Death had not come to him. 

Sarasvati lay quite quiet, her head thrown back against 
the topmost step of the altar/ one arm flung across her 
breast as though in an involuntary movement of protec- 
tion. The string of rubies that had bound her forehead 
had snapped and the red stones glittered on the marble 
like luminous drops of blood. Hurst saw her and the 
man who knelt beside her as in a hideous fantasy of the 
brain. He tried to push the kneeling figure to one side, 
but the finality of all that had come to pass lamed his 
strength, and a minute after it was too late. Freed from 
the spell of consternation the worshipers had wheeled 
around now and, panic-stricken, fought their way back to 
the steps. Their sweeping circle brushed the altar and, 
helpless, half indifferent, Hurst was caught and carried 
back in the awful debacle of the return. 

"Dead — dead — ^the curse is on us I Dead — Sarasvati 
is dead — ^her blood is on the altar I" 
The cry reached the distant station. It lingered on 
until daybreak like a child's disconsolate wailing — ^then 
died into the leaden silence of despair. 



The day broke very perfectly over the quiet temple. 
The beacon fires had long since died out, and unruffled 
peace brooded over the sacred waters of the pool Over 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 39I 

the gopuras the violet dome softened to the palest sap- 
phire and from the west golden heralds of the morning 
rode gaily on the wings of the breeze. 

From the island shrine a boat was pushed oflF and 
allowed to drift slowly, almost imperceptibly, shoreward. 
No hand held the dragon-headed rudder, and the oars 
lay unused in the rowlocks, their slender blades breaking 
the still mirror of the waters. The man seated in the 
prow looked back over the widening space to where the 
shrine's delicate minaret rose up amidst the reflected 
shadows of the temple. His chin resting in his hand, he 
seemed to be unconscious of all things but the scene 
before him and long after the keel had grated against 
the stones he remained motionless like some statue of 
Meditation. Then he arose and faced the shore. No 
surprise or fear showed itself on his impassive features. 
He waded through the shallow water and confronted the 
man who awaited him. Silently they measured each other 
through the t\f ilight that still lingered in the temple court. 

"We are quite alone," Hurst said simply. "I have 
waited for you for three long hours, Rama Pal, and you, 
perhaps, have waited many years for me; let us settle 
our account now." 

The Hindu raised his hand with a movement of stern 
dignity, infinite resignation. 

"Our account is settled. Lord Sahib. Pass on. My 
hours are few and the curse is on me. I have stained 
my hands in my own blood. If, indeed, the God of my 
fathers lives I am thrice damned — if not," he smiled and 
the smile was very terrible, "then is all life vain." He 



392 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

raised his hand$ in solemn farewell to his forehead, and 
Hurst saw that the sacred mark had been washed away. 
They looked each other in the eyes. For the last time 
the subtle tragedy that underlies all life bridged the 
gulf of hatred, and in silence Rama Pal passed on into 
the shades. 

Through the increasing brightness David Hurst rowed 
out over the still waters. No light burned out to meet 
him. All life seemed to have sunk into abeyance. The 
grating of his boat against the shore sounded loud and 
harsh in the holy stillness. He passed on slowly, a pale 
stream of sunshine marking his path, and as once before 
in that first meeting he stood at the shrine's entrance and 
saw the wonder of the divine dreamer. 

The daughter of Brahma slept. Peacefully, her dark 
head pillowed on a white heap of fresh lotus blossoms, she 
lay beneath the shadow of the great idol, and no trace of 
the darker shadow clouded the serene loveliness, which 
in that hour had been given back to her. David Hurst 
drew nearer and on the lowest step of the altar — ^knelt. 
A simple reverence had placed flowers over the stain upon 
the breast and in the clasped hands. The insignia of that 
hour of sinister majesty lay upon the altar. In her own 
beauty alone the daughter of Brahma had gone forth 
in the search of God. 

Gently David Hurst lifted one frail hand and slipped 
the ring of their short union back on to the empty finger. 
It was to him the symbol of a greater unity. The turmoil 
of life into which he had drawn her had hidden her from 
him — now he saw her as she was, as she would remain 



THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 393 

to him to the end of time — ^as the mirror of his soul. 
The ideal had been rewon. The daughter of Brahma was 
in her temple. 

He bent and kissed her. Her lips were faintly parted, 
no longer in breathless longing but very peacefully, and 
that same peace was in his own heart. Grief sank sub- 
merged in the recognition of a divine purpose fulfilled. 
Here, in the heathen temple of the Unknown God, the 
vain shadows of man's arrogant knowledge vanished, 
David Hurst faced God himself. 

"Daughter of Brahma 1" 

And when he looked at her again he saw that the sun- 
light surrounded her in golden majesty. 

He rose and turned. A slight sound on the path out- 
side had warned him, and he felt no surprise when he 
saw Heilig standing on the threshold. The broad shoul- 
ders were bowed. In the clear light of the morning the 
determined face looked old and haggard. 

"I thought to find you here," Heilig said gently. "I 
took the priest's barge and rowed across. I thought you 
would forgive me if I, too, came to bid farewell." 

David Hurst nodded, and in silence the two men gazed 
down upon the quiet sleeper. 

"A dream," Heilig said under his breatH, "an inspira- 
tion." Then he took Hurst's arm. "Come, let us leave 
her," he said. "God will take care of her better in her 
temple." 

They rowed across the sacred pool. From where the 
bo-tree threw its delicate shadow upon the quiet water, 
David Hurst looked back. It seemed to him, in that last 



394 THE DAUGHTER OF BRAHMA 

moment, that a light burned within the island shrine and, 
brightening even as he gazed, poured forth to meet the 
rising of the sun. 

Then he turned resolutely and followed Heilig down 
into the valley. 



THE END 






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